Slovakia & Italy qualify for World Wheelchair Curling Champs

Italy and Slovakia are through to the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Championship after a dramatic final day of play at the World Wheelchair Qualification event in the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.

Photo: WCF/Katja Kiiskinen
Photo: WCF/Katja Kiiskinen

After losing the 1v2 play-off game 10-9 in the morning against Slovakia, Italy went on to beat hosts Finland 6-5 in an extra end in the final play-off game and secured their place at the World Championship next February in South Korea.

Italian Skip, Andrea Tabanelli, was relieved to make it to the Championships. He said: “I was upset this morning, due to a mistake I made with my last stone, I lost us the game. We were very lucky to have a second chance and play again this afternoon. I am delighted that we won. This win is for my team, who are fantastic and have managed to form a strong bond.”

Following their victory on Thursday morning, Slovak Skip Radoslav Duriš, said: “It’s very impressive, it’s a very big surprise. There were highs and lows in this game for both teams but in each end we thought we could do it. The win for us is amazing.

“We lost three games in a row in the middle of this event and at that point we said ‘Houston we have a problem!’ but since then we have won every game. It was a dream for us to go to Korea – and now we are going.”

In the 3v4 play-off in the morning, Finland won 13-2 against a German team who lost skip, Jens Jäger, to a hand injury in their final game on Wednesday evening. Caren Totzauer moved up to Skip.

On losing their game against Italy, Finnish Skip, Vesa Hellman, remained upbeat. He said: “We’ll try again next year. We showed massive improvement this year, so we will be coming to next year’s competition with a completely different mindset. After a couple of days, I’m sure we’ll be able to enjoy this achievement too, even though we didn’t manage to achieve the spot at the worlds.”

Slovakia and Italy join Canada, Scotland, Norway, Russia, China, Korea, USA and Sweden who have already qualified for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2012 based on the final ranking at the 2011 event. The 2012 event will be staged at the Uiam Ice Rink, Chuncheon City, South Korea from 18-25 February. The Championship will be the second opportunity for nations to gather qualification points for the Wheelchair Curling Competition at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

On the conclusion of the 2011 World Wheelchair Qualifying Event, the World Curling Federation announced that the 2012 event will return to the Kisakallio Sports Institute, Lohja, Finland from the 3-8 November. Kate Caithness, President of the World Curling Federation, said: “The Finnish Curling Association and Kisakallio Sports Institute have delivered an excellent event. The institute provides top class facilities and optimal competition conditions for athletes with a disability. We are delighted to return to Kisakallio once more and would like to thank the organizing committee for all their hard work this year.”

Linescores:

FIN 0 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 0-5
ITA* 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 1-6

SVK 0 0 4 0 2 0 2 2-10
ITA* 2 1 0 3 0 3 0 0-9

FIN* 1 2 0 6 4 0 x-13
GER 0 0 1 0 0 1 x-2

*Hammer (last stone advantage)

Final Standings
1.Slovakia 6-4
2.Italy 8-2
3.Finland 5-5
4.Germany 5-5
5.Denmark 4-5
6.Switzerland 4-5
7.Czech Republic 3-5
8.Japan 3-5
9.Latvia 2-6

The schedule of play and team line-ups for this event are available online at: http://www.worldcurling.org/world-wheelchair-curling-qualification-2011

Results and LIVE webcasting will be provided on the Finnish Curling Association website:
http://www.curling.fi/en/competitions/leagues/7835/standings
http://www.curling.fi/en/competitions/curling-channel

World Curling Federation Wheelchair Curling Events Facebook: Go hit ‘like’ to keep updated:
http://www.facebook.com/WorldWheelchairCurlingChampionships