February 15 - Kate Caithness, President of the World Curling Federation (WCF), has claimed that the sport's preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games are "well on schedule" ahead of its first event, which gets underway tomorrow in the Russian city.
Ten mixed national teams will compete at the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship - the sport's Paralympic test event - when play begins at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in the coastal cluster.
The tournament, which also offers the third and final opportunity for nations to accumulate points as they try to qualify for next year's Paralympics, will be the first curling event to be held at the Olympic and Paralympic curling venue, but Caithness is particularly confident and praised Sochi 2014's preparations ahead of the Games.
"We are well on schedule for Sochi 2014," she told insidethegames.
"I was out in Sochi last week when President [Vladimir] Putin and Jacques Rogge came to see the venue, which was very exciting.
"Everything is on schedule.
"We just need to use the test event to make sure everything is perfectly ready for the Games and if not we have from now until next year to fix it."
The event in Sochi will see the return of many athletes who competed at last year's World Championship in Chuncheon, South Korea, including the reigning world champions, Russia, who will be vying to defend their title on home soil with skip Andrey Smirnov leading the same team that won gold last year.
The runners up from that competition, South Korea, will be hoping to go one better as Vancouver 2010 silver medallist Hak-Sung Kim skips the same line-up that secured silver at home, while Haitao Wang's team from China will also return after finishing with the bronze medal in 2012.
After making their World Championship debut last year to finish in a very respectable fourth place, Slovakia returns with the same squad and skip Radoslav Duriš, alongside Canada, who welcome back Paralympic gold medallist and two-time world champion skip Jim Armstrong, who last September had an 18 month ban for drugs reduced to six by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after he appealed.
He had successfully argued that he had tested positive for Tamoxifen because it had been prescribed for his late wife when she was receiving treatment for breast cancer and he had got it mixed up with his own medication.
Scotland's Aileen Neilson is the only female skip in the field and will be looking to improve on an eighth place finish in 2012, while Finland, skipped by Vesa Hellman, will be there after qualifying for their first ever World Wheelchair Curling Championship.
Former world champions Norway, last year's fifth place finishers the United States and 2009 World Championship silver medallist Sweden complete the rest of the line up competing in Russia at the weekend.
The ten teams will compete in a round robin, which runs from Saturday to Saturday (February 16-23), and the semi-finals will take place on the Friday (February 22), with the bronze and gold medal games scheduled for the following day.
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February 2012: Russians beat hosts to claim World Wheelchair Curling Championship