Wheelchair curling event expanded to 12 teams for PyeongChang 2018
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) confirmed that the wheelchair curling event at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will be expanded from 10 to 12 teams.
The IPC confirmed this expansion following their Governing Board meeting held in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday 7 June 2015.
Following this announcement, WCF President Kate Caithness said: “We are delighted that the wheelchair curling event has been expanded and will now see 12 teams competing for Paralympic medals in PyeongChang in 2018. This now gives more athletes the opportunity to compete in what is the pinnacle event of the wheelchair curling calendar.”
She continued: “This expansion is a reflection of the continued growth of this discipline around the world. The WCF has been working hard to develop wheelchair curling for many years now, both through our official competitions and various courses and clinics for athletes and their support staff. We’re pleased that this development has been recognised by the IPC and we look forward to working with them to make PyeongChang 2018 even better than what was a truly memorable Paralympics in Sochi last year.”
Wheelchair curling is a mixed team event open to individuals who are non-ambulant or can only walk short distances. This includes athletes with significant impairments in lower leg/gait function, such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or double leg amputation, who use a wheelchair for daily mobility.
It is governed by, and played, according to the rules of the World Curling Federation (WCF), with only one modification for wheelchair users – no sweeping.
The WCF will now proceed with confirming qualification proposals that will be presented to Member Associations ahead of the World Curling Congress which is taking place in Belgrade, Serbia between 2-5 September 2015.
It is then expected that any new qualification procedures will be implemented in time for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2016 which will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland between 21-28 February.
Last year, 10 teams competed in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. There, Canada won the gold medals while hosts Russia finished runners up, picking up silver. Meanwhile, Great Britain won the bronze medals after defeating China.
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games takes place between 9 and 18 March that year, with the wheelchair curling event being held in the the Gangneung Curling Centre, which will also host the Olympic Winter Games curling event earlier that year.