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Friday, February 10, 2012

Wheelchair curlers aim to become national champions

By Chris Koehn, Daily NewsFebruary 10, 2012

Wheelchair curlers Corinne Jensen and Ellis Tull head to Thunder Bay, Ont., in March for the 2012 Wheelchair Championships after qualifying in Kamloops on Feb. 5.

Corrine Jensen
Playing on ice in a wheelchair requires a different physical and mental approach to the game and has inspired both to shoot for the stars.

"We're wheelies!" Jensen said, describing how players roll right out onto the sheet in their chairs.
Tull explained that there is no sweeping, so if the shot is not good to begin with there are no sweepers to bring it back.a

"You have to be more accurate in wheelchair curling than regular curling because that's your shot," coach Karen Watson said.

Players use a rod to reach the rock, throw it and give it a light twist to curl it down the ice.

"It's shuffleboard on ice," Jensen quipped. "It's just you, the rock and the skip down on the other end."

Ellis has always curled from a wheelchair, but Jensen was once what she described to be an "able-bodied curler," before developing multiple sclerosis. "It's just since 2007 when I discovered the sport. It was unbelievable to get back into it, it was like I had a new life. They could barely get me off the ice, I loved it so much."

Their love of the sport has inspired them to set goals.

"Sports gives anybody a ton, but when you're disabled and able to take back something or take sport back into your life it changes your whole mood, your attitude, your goals," Jensen said.

"I threw together a four year plan for myself last year to focus more on curling to see what I can accomplish. I've somewhat already surpassed that," Tull humbly explained.

"Somewhat," Jensen cut in, rolling her eyes in mock disbelief.

"I'm going to have to readjust my plan, obviously," Tull acknowledged shyly.

Interested parties can contact the club at 250-753-3474 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 250-753-3474 end_of_the_skype_highlighting about sponsorship and donations.

The championship begins on March 18, with finals on March 25.

CKoehn@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4228 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 250-729-4228 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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