Titlis Glacier Mountain World Women’s Curling Championship 2013 – PREVIEW

Riga, Latvia Photo:WCF

The Titlis Glacier Mountain World Women’s Curling Championship 2013, presented by Ford Motor Company of Canada, will get underway in Riga, Latvia on Saturday March 16th and run until Sunday March 24th. It is the first World Curling Championship to be staged in Latvia.

The twelve teams who have qualified for this event, which will take place in the 1000-seat Volvo Sports Center, are: Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, hosts Latvia, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

Following the opening ceremony on Saturday March 16th, the teams battle it out in seventeen sessions of round-robin play, scheduled from Saturday 16th March until the evening of Thursday 21st March. After this, tie-breakers will be played , if needed, to determine the top four ranked teams.

After this, as in all World Curling Federation (WCF) Championship events, curling's Page Play-off system will be used. The top two ranked teams from the round-robin face each other, with the winner of that game going direct to the final, and the loser being given a second chance by playing a semi-final against the winner of the Play-off between the teams ranked third and fourth. The winner of that sole semi-final goes onto the final to play for gold or silver, and the loser faces the Page 3/4 loser for bronze. These gold and bronze medal finals will take place on Sunday 24th March.

There are many familiar names among the competitors, but there are also several new names and team combinations. However they do not include current world champion Mirjam Ott from Switzerland, who won gold last year in Lethbridge, Canada.

Ott lost the right to defend her title when her team was beaten by the team skipped by Silvana Tirinzoni in the Swiss national championship final, and now Tirinzoni will represent her country on the world stage this year.

Among the newcomers at this level are the team that will represent what is the world's strongest curling nation, Canada. Fresh from her first-ever victory in the Canadian women’s national championship, Ontario's Rachel Homan will wear the Maple Leaf for the first time since she appeared at the 2010 World Junior Championships.

Japan, led by skip Satsuki Fujisawa, came second (behind China) in the Pacific-Asia Championship in November to qualify for a place at this event. It is the first time that Japan has competed at this level since 2010.

Hosts Latvia are led by Iveta Stasa-Sarsune. This is only the second time that Latvia has competed in the World Championships, having previously been involved in 2010.

USA will be represented by a re-cast team of seasoned Olympians, led by Erika Brown, which includes former world champions Debbie McCormick and Ann Swisshelm.

There are many well-known teams among the remainder of the European contingent, who all qualified from December's 2012 European Championships in Karlstad, Sweden .

Russia, led by Anna Sidorova, will come on to the ice as reigning European champions, while Denmark's Lene Nielsen, Italy's Diana Gaspari, Scotland's Eve Muirhead, and Sweden's Margaretha Sigfridsson are all experienced at world championship level.

Germany's Andrea Schöpp, the 2010 world champion, will make a remarkable nineteenth World Championship appearance - a figure that would have been one higher had she not been ruled out last year because of a late injury.

Completing the line-up is China's Bingyu Wang, who took this title in 2009 and qualified this year by winning the 2012 Pacific-Asia Championship.

Adding to the tension of this event, the 2013 world championships for both men and women are the last opportunities for nations to gather Olympic qualification points. (The Ford World Men's Championship is being staged in Victoria, BC, Canada, 30 March to 7 April).

Rather than the fields of twelve teams that customarily take part in world championships, only the top ten men's and women's nations will compete for curling medals at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, being staged in Sochi, Russia.

Qualification for the Winter Olympics is available through cumulative points allocated - based on final rankings - at the 2012 and 2013 world championships, with the host nation and the top seven ranking nations of each gender being allocated a place. For more information visit: http://www.worldcurling.org/olympic-qualification

New for the 2014 Games, the WCF has introduced a stand-alone Olympic Qualification Event to determine the last two available places for each gender, which will take place in December 2013 at a venue yet to be announced.

To be eligible to participate in this new event, nations that have not already qualified for the Olympic Winter Games, either by ranking in the top seven qualifying positions or by being host nation, must have participated in the world championships in any one of 2011, 2012, or 2013.

The WCF Olympic qualification system determines which nations are eligible to compete in the Winter Olympic Games. The selection of team members to represent a qualified nation is a matter for National Olympic Committees, based on nominations by national governing bodies.

Throughout the curling world, individual nations employ different selection arrangements. For example, nations such as Canada and the USA stage specific Olympic Trial competitions, each with their own qualification arrangements for participation - the Canadian Olympic Trials will be staged in Winnipeg in December 2013, while the USA's trial event takes place in Fargo, North Dakota in November.

Many other nations, including most European contenders, have developed national high performance squads and systems from which their Olympic teams will be selected. In the case of the Great Britain Olympic team, qualification points gained by teams representing Scotland at WCF level are used.

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world. WCF Broadcast Partners for the 2013 World Curling Championships include Eurosport (Eurosport, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player) in Europe, NHK in Japan, CCTV-5 in China, Universal Sports Network in the USA, SporTV in Brazil, TSN in Canada (RDS in Quebec).

In addition, Curling fans around the world will be able to follow selected live coverage of the events via the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

The live coverage schedule will be available along with news, live scores and galleries here on the event website.

Event Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/WorldWomensCurlingChampionship
Event Twitter Hashtags: #wwcc2013 #curling

The Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2014 will take place in St John, New Brunswick, Canada from 15-23 March in the Harbour Station – the same venue as the 1999 World Championships.

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