The host country of the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games pushed itself to the top of the podium in the coastal city at both the 2009 World Curling Federation (WCF) World Wheelchair Curling Championships and the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup after several days of intense competition.
Ten countries came to Vancouver to compete at the WCF Wheelchair Curling World Championships, with Team Canada facing off against Sweden in the gold-medal match on 28 February, and winning 9:2. Canada’s performance was lead by athletes Jim Armstrong, Darryl Neighbour, Chris Sobkowicz, Sonja Gaudet and Ina Forrest. The fight for the bronze was between Germany and USA, with Team Germany winning 6-4.
With the conclusion of the 2009 World Wheelchair Curling Championships, which were a test event for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, three years of qualifying competition for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games has come to an end.
Canada, as host nation, will receive an automatic entry. The remaining nine places will be offered to the nine National Paralympic Committees of the member associations of the World Curling Federation who have gained the most qualifying points from the World Wheelchair Curling Championships held in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
At the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup, Canada’s Ice Sledge Hockey Team took the gold, winning 2-1 against USA. Graeme Murray (CAN) scored the single goal in regulation for his team, making their record three wins out of three competitions. Jimmy Connelly (USA) tied the game in the third period, scoring against the Canadians. Canadian Adam Dixon scored the goal in the fifth round of the shootout, with Paul Rosen stopping all five of the Americans that he faced.
The final day of the Canada Cup on 1 March, saw a tough bronze medal match between Germany and Japan. Japanese athletes Takayuki Endo and Satoru Sudo scored one goal each in the final three minutes of the third period, and teammate Daisuke Uehara scored in the shootout giving Team Japan the win 3-2.
The 2009 Hockey Canada Cup took place at the UBC Thunderbird Arena in Vancouver, and was also an official Test Event for the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The four teams competing were the top ranked teams in the Paralympic Sport. The event Ice Sledge will take place in the same venue during the Games next year.
The test events for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games continue this week with the IPC Biathlon & Cross-Country World Cup from 5-8 March and the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals from 9-14 March, both taking place in Whistler.