2008-2009 WCF rankings released – China big mover

The World Curling Federation (WCF) has released the latest World Curling Rankings, and China continues its steady climb into the upper echelons of the sport.

The 2008-09 season rankings continue to show Canada leading in both men’s and women’s play, despite Kevin Martin’s recent loss in the 2009 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship final (where Canada had won the two previous Worlds) and Jennifer Jones’ fourth-place finish at the 2009 Mount Titlis World Women’s Curling Championship in Gangneung, Korea.

The World Women’s championship title has moved China’s women, currently skipped by Bingyu Wang, up four positions in the rankings and into the top five, a remarkable achievement considering their world championship debut occurred in 2005.

The men’s team, currently skipped by Fengchun Wang, advanced three places in the rankings and is now positioned just outside the top 10, although they have now qualified for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The successful Danish women’s team currently skipped by Angelina Jensen has positioned Denmark’s women at number four in the world, following two podium finishes (silver in 2007 and bronze in 2009) in the last three Worlds.

Australia’s failure to qualify for the 2009 Ford World Men’s in Moncton not only dropped them from Vancouver 2010 Olympic contention, but saw them fall out of the top 10 in the men’s rankings.

“Generally speaking, the rankings are slow to react to sudden successes or failures,” said Patrick Huerlimann, WCF Executive Board Member, 1998 Olympic champion and the architect of the World Curling Rankings.

“This is due to the nature of the rankings, which track back through the previous six curling seasons.

“But the impact China is making is simply remarkable to watch.”

In the men’s rankings, Scotland – with World gold in 2006 and 2009 and silver scored in 2005 and 2008 – now trail Canada by 168 points, with Norway, the United States and Germany rounding out the top five.

Big movers include Spain, which jumped four places to 21st after qualifying for the A-division at the 2008 Le Gruyère European Championships, as well as Japan and Hungary (two places).

On the women’s side, Sweden – which captured silver at this year’s Worlds in Korea – has narrowed the gap behind Canada to 59 points, while Switzerland, Denmark and China complete the top five.

Other movement sees Korea gain three spots to climb to 13th position, while the national teams of Russia, Hungary, Estonia and Slovakia each advanced by two rankings positions.

Two countries appearing in the top 10 who have not qualified for the Olympics are Finland’s men, who are seventh in the World Curling Rankings but 12th in Olympic points, and Norway’s women, who rank ninth in the world but 14th in Olympic points.

China (Bingyu Wang in action) has rocketed up the WCF’s World Curling Rankings WCF photo by Lee Young Gyu

The World Curling Rankings track and list the success of all 45 Member Associations of the World Curling Federation at various major events, including the Pacific Championships, the Le Gruyère European Championships, the Ford and Mount Titlis World Championships and the Olympic Winter Games competition.

For the full Rankings lists, including previous season rankings and / - movements, see WCF Rankings.

For the full list of qualified countries for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, see Olympic Qualification

The World Curling Rankings track and list the success of all 45 Member Associations of the World Curling Federation at various major events, including the Pacific Championships, the Le Gruyère European Championships, the Ford and Mount Titlis World Championships and the Olympic Winter Games competition.

Points are assigned for top-level placements at each competition, with lower point values assigned for Events dating back as far as six curling seasons.