Strong Performance by Italy at Wheelchair Curling Qualifier

08 Nov 2011 By IPC

Italy is the only team to remain unbeaten after the third day of play at the qualification event for the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Championship at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.

Both the original front runners at the event, Germany and Switzerland, were knocked back by the Italians and Finns on Monday (7 November). In the morning session, the Italians beat the Swiss 5-3, then went on to win their afternoon game against Germany 11-1.

Hosts Finland, who had a mixed start to the event, found winning form again, beating Germany 7-4 and then going on to win against Switzerland 8-6.

Italian coach Giulio Regli was delighted with his team’s performance but cautioned that there were still four games of the round-robin to go and stressed that the Italian team had found themselves in this position only a year ago.

At the 2010 qualification event, the Italians made the playoff stage of the event but failed to secure one of the two spots for the world championships. Regli added there was still a lot to play for and that his team had to stay focused.

Denmark had their first wins of the event with two high scoring games: 13-5 against the Czechs and 15-3 against the Latvians.

Latvia beat Japan 10-6, before Japan recorded their first win of the event against Slovakia 9-3 in the afternoon session. Slovakia and the Czechs each had a bye on Monday.

The event in Finland will see two teams qualifying for the two remaining slots at the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Chuncheon City, South Korea.

The nine teams taking part in the qualification play a round-robin (each team plays each other). On Thursday 10 November, playoffs take place between the top four-ranked teams to decide the two teams that will go to South Korea next February.

Canada, Scotland, Norway, Russia, China, Korea, USA and Sweden have already qualified for this event based on the final ranking at the 2011 World Championship. The 2012 event will be the second opportunity for nations to gather qualification points for the Wheelchair Curling Competition at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.