Friday 28 October 2016
It’s easy to forget in a major tournament the hard work that goes into qualifying for them and the stories that come from them.
We often remember the medals and not the heated clashes in the national championships to determine who gets to represent their country. We now have our teams for this year’s Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships in Braehead, Scotland (19-26 November) – here’s some of the highlights from the women’s qualification:
Team Binia Feltscher (Switzerland)
Binia Feltscher’s rink is among the strongest in Europe, winning two of the past three Women’s World Women’s Curling Championships, in 2014 and 2016. In this year’s trials their opponents – Team Alina Paetz – were no less qualified, because this was the team who brought home the World Women’s Curling Championship title in 2015.
The defending world champions would go 1-0 up in the series before conceding defeat in the second match. Two victories the following day meant they only had to win one more match to settle the result, however Paetz and co. won the next game to bring it back to 3-2. The final game was an exciting back and forth – Paetz looked to level it up after being one ahead going into the last end, but Feltscher stepped up when it mattered, scoring two in the final end, which sealed the victory.
Team Victoria Moiseeva (Russia)
When it comes to Russian curling there’s no team more popular than Anna Sidorova’s quartet. They have been dominant domestically, with Sidorova appearing in the national team at the World Curling Championships for the past seven years and winning bronze in the last three.
However, the unthinkable happened. A challenger dethroned the queen of Russian curling. Victoria Moiseeva’s rink will represent the country after shocking the current European champions in a best of seven series to qualify for next months’ championship in Braehead, Scotland. Defeating Sidorova’s side is tricky enough, but defeating them four times makes you a real contender for the European crown. Sidorova will travel to Scotland as alternate for Team Moiseeva.
Team Eve Muirhead (Scotland)
This year’s home skip, Eve Muirhead, will have been pleased to get through the Scottish European Playdowns without any issues. Her side, which now features former alternate Lauren Gray as lead, won in straight matches – against Team Hannah Fleming – to secure their place. Now with a new line up, Muirhead will be hoping to go one better than last year and win the tournament in her home nation to add to her sole European title from 2011, in Moscow, Russia. Muirhead also welcomes back third Anna Sloan, from injury.
Team Anna Hasselborg (Sweden)
The Swedes selection is always quite contentious as they have so much depth in their ranks, especially among women. Veteran Margaretha Sigfridsson was in the mix to represent her country once again, but skip Anna Hasselborg’s side were deemed to be the in-form side.
They have won two titles so far this season at the Oakville OCT Fall Classic and Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup and will want to bring Sweden back among the medals after Sigfridsson’s four successive years between 2010 and 2013.
Hasselborg’s sole appearance in the European Championships came two years ago in Champery, Switzerland where she skipped her side to a fifth place finish, something that she’ll be determined to better this time around.
The Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships is the qualifying event for the World Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships in 2017, which in turn are the last opportunity for Member Associations to earn Olympic Qualification Points for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.
To engage with with the WCF on social media, in the build up to PyeongChang 2018 and for the ECC 2016, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@WorldCurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting:
Generic: #curling #Roadto2018
Event specific: #ECC2016
Buy your tickets online from Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/artist/222762