January 2012 - Junior Curlers take centre stage on the ice!

January 2012 sees junior curlers from around the world taking to the ice in top level international junior curling events. The European Junior Curling Challenge 2012 is currently underway in Tårnby just outside Copenhagen in Denmark. On January 13 the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games will be staged in Innsbruck, Austria and following that event, the 2012 Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships will take place in Jeonju, South Korea (28 January – 2 February).

Estonia's Helen Nummert competing in the EJCC 2011 and skips the Estonian junior women in 2012. Photo: Roman Vondrous

24 junior curling teams representing 15 nations are competing in the World Curling Federation’s European Junior Curling Challenge (EJCC 2012) in Tårnby where the winning junior women’s and junior men’s teams will qualify for the World Junior Curling Championships 2012 in Östersund, Sweden.

Nine junior women’s teams are playing from Denmark, England, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.

The fifteen junior men’s teams taking part have been split into two pools: Pool A – Austria, Denmark, England, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland and Russia. Pool B – Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain

Play begins on Tuesday evening at Tårnby Curling Club with a round robin for both the junior men and women running through to Saturday 7 January.

The first placed junior women’s team at the end of the round robin qualifies directly for the final on Sunday the 8th, with the 2nd and 3rd placed teams playing off for the remaining place in the final.

The top two-ranked junior men’s teams in each pool will play off for the final spots. Both finals are scheduled to take place at 15:00 local time on Saturday. The two winning teams gain entry to the World Juniors in Östersund which take place from 3-11 March 2012.

Follow the results and more from the EJCC 2012 here: http://www.ejcc2012.com/

Teams that have already qualified for the World Junior Curling Championships 2012:
Junior Women: Scotland, Canada, Russia, Sweden, USA, Switzerland, Norway and the Czech Republic.
Junior Men: Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Scotland, USA, Finland the Czech Republic.

Further information about the World Juniors 2012 can be seen here on the event website: http://wjcc2012.worldcurling.net

On Saturday 14 January, the curling competition will get underway at the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre at the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games. Over 1,000 athletes, aged between 15 and 18 will take part in the event – among them will be 64 curlers representing 16 nations.

Teams from Austria, Canada, USA, Japan, China, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Italy and Estonia will compete first in a mixed team competition. Then the athletes will play a mixed doubles competition, where they will be paired in teams with another player from a different nationality.

Away from the ice the young athletes will have a chance to take part in workshops and a culture and education programme. To find out more about the Youth Olympic Games and what’s in store visit: http://www.worldcurling.org/youth-olympic-games

Germany’s Uli Kapp and Great Britain’s Eve Muirhead will be the World Curling Federation’s Athlete Role Models in Innsbruck. See what they have to say about the event here hhttp://www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV