World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2015 begins Saturday
release: 2 February 2015
Lohja, Finland – Play begins at the World Wheelchair Curling
Championship 2015 on Saturday 7 February at the Kisakallio Sports
Institute in Lohja, Finland.
Ten mixed national teams will compete in the event, which marks the
start of the qualification process for the Wheelchair Curling
competition at the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The 2015 Championship opens with a round-robin running from Saturday 7
until Wednesday 11 February.
Thereafter, one round of tie-breaker games will be played on Thursday
12, if required, followed by the 1v2 and 3v4 play-off games.
The sole semi-final will then take place at 09:00 on Friday 13 February
followed by both the bronze and gold medal games at 14:00 later in the
day (all times local, Eastern European Time).
This is the first World Wheelchair Curling Championship since the Sochi
2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Many of the athletes who competed in Russia will return to represent
their Association in Finland. They include reigning World and
Paralympic champions Canada, winners of this event on three occasions
(2009, 2011 and 2013).
This year they will be skipped by Mark Ideson (lead), along with fellow
Paralympic and World Championship gold medallists Ina Forrest (fourth),
Dennis Thiessen (third) and three-time Paralympic gold medal winner
Sonja Gaudet (second). They will be joined by Marie Wright as
Russia return with the same team who won the World Wheelchair Curling
Championship in 2012 and then picked up the Paralympic silver medals in
Sochi last year.
The team is comprised of Andrey Smirnov (skip), Marat Romanov (third),
Oxana Slesarenko (second), Alexander Shevchenko (lead) and Svetlana Pakhomova
Great Britain won the bronze medals at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter
Games. They were represented by a team from Scotland, with four members
of that team returning to challenge for the 2015 world title.
They include Aileen Neilson, the only female skip in the field; Gregor
Ewan (third); Jim Gault (second) and Angie Malone (lead). They will be
supported by alternate Hugh Nibloe.
China were runners up in the bronze medal game at the Sochi 2014
Paralympics, finishing in fourth place. They are represented by the
exact same team this year, with 2012 and 2013 World Wheelchair Curling
Championship bronze medallist HaiTao Wang (skip) along with Wei Liu
(third); Qiang Zhang (second); GuangQin Xu (lead) and Jun He
Sweden finished with the silver medals in the last World Wheelchair
Curling Championship in 2013 after losing out to Canada.
Two-time Paralympic Games bronze medallist (2006 and 2010) and two time
World Championship silver medallist (2009 and 2013), Jalle Jungell,
returns to skip Sweden.
He skips a team that includes three of the athletes that finished in
seventh position at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics – Patrik Kallin (third);
Kristina Ulander (lead) and Zandra Reppe (alternate).
They are joined this year by Ronny Persson (second), a Paralympic
bronze medallist in the downhill skiing competitions at both the 1998
Nagano and 2002 Salt Lake City Paralympic Winter Games.
USA will again be represented by skip Patrick McDonald and almost the
same team who earned a fourth place finish in the World Wheelchair
Curling Championships in 2013.
At last year’s Paralympics, four members of this team - Patrick
McDonald (skip); James (Jimmy) Joseph (second); Penny Greely (lead) and
Meghan Lino (alternate), finished in fifth place. For this year’s
Championship they are joined by third Stephen Emt.
Slovakia made their World Wheelchair Curling Championship debut three
years ago and skip Radoslav Duris returns with the same team that
performed well in both the 2012 and 2013 World Championships. He
skipped them to a sixth place finish at the Paralympics last year.
His team consists of Branislav Jakubec (third); Dusan Pitonak (second);
Monika Kunkelova (lead) and Imrich Lyocsa will be alternate.
Finland, skipped by Markku Karjalainen, qualified for their first World
Wheelchair Curling Championship in 2013 where they finished in eighth
position before making their Paralympic debut in 2014 where they
Lining up alongside Karjalainen in his team this year is Sari
Karjalainen (third); Mina Mojtahedi (second); Tuomo Aarnikka (lead) and
Vesa Leppanen (alternate).
Norway return with 2007 and 2008 world champion skip Rune Lorentsen
after they won the World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event in
Lillehammer in November 2014.
He skips a team that includes Jostein Stordahl (third); Ole Fredrik
Syversen (second); Sissel Loechen (lead) and Gina Kristin Broendbo
Germany were the other team to qualify from the Qualification event in
Norway last November. They will be skipped by Jens Jaeger, a World
Wheelchair Curling Championship bronze medallist in 2009.
His team also includes Christiane Putzich (third); Martin Schlitt
(second); Heike Melchior (lead) and Robert Hering (alternate).