Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 - PREVIEW

The 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, is being staged in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada from Saturday March 30th until Sunday April 7th, with the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre there playing host to twelve of the top teams from the international world of curling.

This is the second time the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre has hosted a World Curling Championship - the 2005 Ford Worlds took place there just after it opened.

The twelve teams who have qualified for this event are: hosts Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

The teams will battle it out in seventeen sessions of round-robin play, scheduled from Saturday 30th March until the evening of Thursday 4th April. At the end of the round-robin, 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, in which 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 take place on Sunday 24th March.

There are many familiar names among the competitors, but there are also several new names and team combinations.

Among the newcomers at this level are the team that will represent what is the world's strongest curling nation, Canada. Fresh from his first-ever victory in the Canadian national men’s championship - the Brier - Brad Jacobs and his Northern Ontario team will wear the Maple Leaf for the first time.

Canadian teams have won the last three men's world titles, beating Scotland teams led by Tom Brewster in the last two finals. Brewster's team return again to represent Scotland, but this time Brewster has moved to play third stones, with two-time world champion David Murdoch joining this combination, playing as skip.

China's Rui Liu leads the same team that finished sixth last year, while Japan's Yusuke Morozumi and his team return to the line-up this year for the first time since 2010. These two teams finished first and second in the 2012 Pacific-Asia Championships to qualify this year.

USA is represented by a team from Seattle, Washington, skipped by Brady Clark. Although Cark has represented the USA at the World Mixed Doubles Championship previously, this team are making their first appearance at a world men's championship.

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. Sweden is represented by Niklas Edin's team, who won the European title in their home town, while the Czech Republic' s Jiřί Snitίl, Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne and Norway's Thomas Ulsrud, are all experienced campaigners at this level.

Making their debuts as skips at this level will be Finland's Aku Kauste, Russia's Andrey Drozdov and Switzerland's Sven Michel. This will be the first world championship appearance by Finland since 2009, and the first-ever by Russia.

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.

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.

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 between 11-15 December 2013 at a location, yet to be announced.

To be eligible to participate in this 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 Olympic Winter 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. National Olympic Committees are required to endorse team entry for the qualifying event by the end of May 2013. On confirmation of the number of competing teams, the competition format will be made public by the WCF at the start of June 2013.
http://www.worldcurling.org/olympic-qualification

Across the curling world, individual nations employ different selection arrangements for their Olympic teams. 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.
Ford has sponsored world curling championships since 1995, initially when the event was a joint men’s and women’s championship, and continuing since 2005, when the Events were split into separate men’s and women’s championships, with Canada hosting one of the Events annually.
Since the first world men’s curling championship was held in 1959, Canada has hosted 20 world men’s and 12 world women’s championships. Ford is the title sponsor of championships held in Canada and presenting sponsor when the championships are held outside of Canada.

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters outside Canada of the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013. 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. In Canada, TSN (RDS in French) will carry all Team Canada games throughout the round robin, followed by the playoffs and medal games. http://www.worldcurling.org/tv-web-coverage

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

News, live scores and more can been seen on the event website: http://www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/
Additional coverage and galleries will also be available on the WCF website: http://www.worldcurling.org/ford-world-mens-curling-championship-2013

Event Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fordworldcurling
Event Twitter Hashtags: #2013wmcc #curling

The World Men’s Curling Championship 2014 will take place in Beijing, China, Canada from 29 March to 6 April.