Scotlandâ€™s Wheelchair Curlers Head For World Champs Qualifier
Scotland’s wheelchair curlers are among a record number of teams heading for Finland this weekend to compete in the World Wheelchair B Curling Championship (7-12 November), aiming to secure a qualification place at the World Championship in Lucerne next year.
The competition is vital in terms of the team’s bid to win another Paralympic medal - following their success at Sochi last year - because qualifying points for the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang will be accrued at the World Championships in the preceding years.
Gregor Ewan, Angela Malone, Robert McPherson, Aileen Neilson and Skip Hugh Nibloe face Estonia – one of three nations officially competing in the event for the first time - in their opening game on Saturday hosted at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja.
The 15 participating nations have been divided into two groups who will compete in a round robin series and the top three teams from each group will progress to the final stages. The top two teams from each respective group will automatically qualify for the semi final, whilst the second and third placed teams must compete for spots in the remaining semi final. Only the finalists will qualify for the last two places at the 2016 World Championship (21-28 February) in Switzerland.
Scotland are playing in this qualifying event after losing to Germany in their relegation play-off at the World Championship in February this year, which also saw Sweden and Norway relegated to the B event who are both drawn in the same group.
Group A: Denmark, England, Estonia, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Scotland.
Group B: Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden.
Scotland Wheelchair Curling Head Coach Sheila Swan said, ‘It is important that Scotland gets off to a strong start in this event and our initial focus is to ensure the team are in the top three of their group in order to progress to the qualification stages.’
The qualification games get underway on Wednesday 11 November (18.00hrs local time EET) and the semi finals and final take place on Thursday 12 November (09.00hrs and 14.30hrs respectively).
Teams that have already qualified for the 2016 World Championships are: current World Champions Russia, China, Finland, Slovakia, USA, Canada, Germany and Switzerland as host.
The World Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017 are qualifiers for the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games Wheelchair Curling Competition and the Scots representing Great Britain, won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games.
Please click here for results.
Some games will be streamed live and they can be viewed here