Canada return to World Wheelchair Curling Championship

PyeongChang 2018 bronze medallists triumph in Lohja, Finland 04 Dec 2019
Man and woman in wheelchairs smile on curling ice sheet
Ina Forrest and Dennis Thiessen have reason to smile after winning gold at the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2019
ⒸWCF / Alina Pavlyuchik
By Canada Curling, World Curling and IPC

Canada are heading back to the big stage after winning the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2019 on Monday (2 December) in Lohja, Finland.

The nation defeated Sweden 6-1 in the gold medal game to top the 15-team tournament. With the victory, Canada earned their spot at the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2020, set to take place from 29 February – 7 March ion Wetzikon, Switzerland. 

It was a redemptive triumph for Canada. One year after winning bronze at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, they finished bottom-three finish at the 2019 World Championship in March and were relegated.

“We unfortunately found ourselves in a predicament that we didn’t expect last year, and we came into this tournament with 15 really good teams looking for three spots,” said Canadian skip Mark Ideson. “But we did our homework, and everyone worked really hard leading up to this event. It was really cool to see the commitment that we put in come to fruition.”

Reaching the final in Lohja ensured that both Canada – led by Ideson, with fourth Jon Thurston, third Ina Forrest, second Marie Wright and alternate Dennis Thiessen – and Sweden had already secured their place in next year’s Worlds.

Sweden – skipped by Viljo Petersson-Dahl, with third Mats-Ola Engborg, second Ronny Persson, lead Kristina Ulander and alternate Zandra Reppe – took home the silver medal.

The Czech Republic held off Slovenia 10-7 to join Canada and Sweden next year. 

The Wheelchair Curling Worlds 2020 will be the first event in which qualifying points will be available for countries to make the field for the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, China.

“We’ll use this as a bit of a springboard going into Switzerland,” said Ideson. “Obviously, there will be a lot of good teams there, but we feel really good about where we’re at right now.”

Czech Republic celebrate their bronze medal