|Reigning Wheelchair World Champions Canada Photo: WCF/Pavla Vrbova|
As we get closer and closer to the World Championships in Korea we now have access to the schedule.
You can download the schedule (PDF Reader required) or review it here:Schedule
As we know; Canada is the defending champions with what could be argued to be the strongest wheelchair curling team ever to exist. With Canada’s experience and training they are going to be the team to beat. Top that with the fact they have only made 1 change (that being only an alternate spot); to a lineup which dominated the sport for the last 3 years.The real challenges could come from anywhere this year. As the sport evolves we have seen a major change in the balance of competitive teams which fall underneath Canada’s talent pool.
The top ranked teams which could challenge for top spot this year are of course GB(Scotland), they have always been in the running since the sport started and with some changes in both players and the adoption of Canadian insert Tony Zummack at coach watch for them to take a run at the gold.
Next in line has to be Korea and China. As host Korea has something to prove with an almost stolen win at the 2010 Paralympic Games. Watch for them to fight to the top but rumors have it that a couple of notable players from Korea may not be on the team this year so who knows. China of course shocked the world with their style and performance at the last Worlds.
Sweden is another team which could make it to top spot, with the return of their long time skip moving away from coach and back to player this alone could make the difference.The other teams playing in this year’s event all could do it as well for this is the sport of curling and anything can happen on a given day but most represent what can be thought of as the next evolution of the sport when talking about wheelchair curling. We are seeing a changing of the guard for most teams. Long time players moving on and new ones jumping in to take those open spots and the USA team is the team with the greatest change with only 2 returning players.
In the next few weeks I will profile each team as the line up for Worlds is locked in. Stay tuned it will be fun!
Teams qualified for the 2012 event and 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Championship Final Standings:
1. Canada 11-0 Gold (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
2. Scotland 8-4 Silver (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
3. Norway 7-5 Bronze (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
4. Russia 6-5 (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
5. China 5-4 (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
6. Korea 4-5 (qualified for WWhCC 2012/host)
7. USA 3-6 (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
8. Sweden 4-7 (qualified for WWhCC 2012)
9. Italy (qualified at Wheelchair Championship Qualifying event)
10. Slovakia (qualifed Wheelchair Championship Qualifying event)