Historic first curling championship in Kazakhstan ready to go

  • Kazakhstan in action at the PACC 2014 Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

More history will be made when the World Curling Federation (WCF) stages the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2015 (PACC) in Almaty, Kazakhstan – the first WCF Championship to be hosted in that country.

The PACC has been held annually since 1991 and the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace in Kazakhstan's largest city will be the venue this year. Five women's teams will be competing, as well as eight men's teams, with the first of ten sessions of round-robin play taking place on the evening of Sunday 8 November (4.30pm, Alma-Ata time [ALMT]).

The five women's teams are: defending champions China, hosts Kazakhstan, Korea, Japan, and New Zealand. These teams will play a double round-robin and a tie-breaker round, if needed, to determine the four teams that will go on to the semi-finals and medal stages of the Championship on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 November.

Skip, Sijia Liu leads the same line-up that won this title for China last year in Karuizawa, Japan. They had an extra end 7-6 win in the final over Korea, represented by a different team this time, skipped by Un Chi Gim. Japan finished third last time and they too have a different line-up for this year, skipped by Satsuki Fujisawa. New Zealand's Chelsea Farley leads a slightly re-cast team, while Olga Ten has the honour of skipping Kazakhstan on home ice to complete the women's field.

The Gold and Silver medal-winning nations will qualify for the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championship taking place in Swift Current, Canada between 19 and 27 March.

The eight men's teams are: Australia, last year's winners China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, hosts Kazakhstan, Korea, Japan and New Zealand. These teams will play a single round-robin programme and a tie-breaker round, if needed, to determine the four teams that will go on to the semi-finals and medal stages on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 November.

As in the women's event, China's Jialang Zang returns as skip, but with a slightly different line-up from last year's Gold-medal winning team. However, skip Yusuke Morozumi leads the same Japan team that took Silver last year. Also returning intact from last year are the teams from Chinese Taipei, led by Randolph Shen, and Korea, under skip Soo Hyuk Kim. Meanwhile, Australia, led by skip Ian Palangio; Kazakhstan, skipped by Victor Kim; and New Zealand, skipped by a returning Peter de Boer, all have slightly-changed line-ups from last year.

Adding to the sense of history at this event, Hong Kong, skipped by John Li, make their first Championship appearance since being admitted into WCF membership in 2014.
The winners and runners-up in this year's Men's PACC will qualify their nations for the 2016 World Men's Curling Championship, being staged in Basel, Switzerland between 2 and 10 April next year.

Results, statistics, news and photos from the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2015 can be seen on the WCF’s official event website: http://www.worldcurling.org/pacc2015

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