Who's competing at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship 2018?

  • Canada's Jennifer Jones at Sochi 2014 © WCF / Michael Burns

The Ford World Women's Curling Championship 2018 field is strong with the inclusion of 2018 Olympic champions, Anna Hasselborg of Sweden, Olympic silver medallists EunJung Kim of Korea, 2014 and 2016 world champions Binia Feltscher from Switzerland and 2014 Olympic gold medallists, Jennifer Jones of Canada.

Based on their showing through various international events, teams can earn their Member Association a spot in the World Curling Championship.

Eight teams, in the first 13 team world championship field, earned their ticket early in the season through the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championship 2017 and are joined by three teams from the Pacific-Asia Curling Championship 2017, and two teams from the Americas zone. The American qualifiers consist of hosts, Canada and United States.

This is the first year the Ford World Women's has moved from the traditional 12 team field to a new 13 team competition. This change comes along with the success that Pacific-Asian teams found at the recent Olympic Winter Games - In Korea - with Korea and Japan finishing on the podium.

Previously, only two teams qualified from the Pacific-Asia event. This year, all three medallists - Korea, Japan and China, earned their Member Association a place at the world championship.

With a bigger field, comes a bigger play-off format. Six teams will make the play-off with the two highest ranked teams at the end of the round-robin stage going straight to the semi-finals. The teams ranked third to sixth (3v6 and 4v5) will play qualification games to decide who else reaches the semi-finals.

Without further ado here are the first six teams that have qualified for the Ford World Women's Curling Championship 2018 (for full team line-ups click 'Teams' above):

Canada's Jennifer Jones and her returning line-up from the 2015 women's championship, will be among the veterans in this year's field. Jones and her team picked up a silver medal at the 2015 championship after losing the gold medal game to Switzerland's Alina Paetz.

Although the 2014 Olympic gold medallists haven't returned to the championship since then, they will look to add a second gold medal to their collection, the first being in 2008. The foursome had a new look at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts 2018, as third Kaitlyn Lawes was preoccupied in PyeongChang, winning an Olympic gold medal for Canada in mixed doubles. Shannon Birchard, a two-time Canadian Junior silver medallist, filled the absent spot left by Lawes. Birchard filled Lawes' shoes seamlessly and will join the team in North Bay as their alternate. Canada will look to finish strong for their long-time second, Jill Officer, as she announced she will be taking a step back from competitive women's curling after the worlds.

China, will be represented by some fresh faces at this year's event. Yilun Jiang will have her skipping debut on the world stage after beating Hong Kong at the Pacific-Asia championship for the third and final spot to qualify. Jiang has previous experience at the world championship as third in both 2014 and 2015 with skip Sijia Liu. Two members of this up and coming team are Olympians, with alternate Rui Wang [pictured above, © WCF / Richard Gray] competing in this year's Olympic mixed doubles and third Xindi Jiang joining the women's team as their alternate in PyeongChang.

Czech Republic's Anna Kubeskova and her familiar foursome will return to the worlds looking to improve on last year's 5-6 record. The team qualified with a 3-6 record at the European championship to claim one of the eight spots. Kubeskova has represented Czech Republic on three occasions, the first being in 2011 - she has improved her record through each showing.

Denmark's Angelina Jensen knows what it takes to deliver a world medal for her country under the spotlight. Both times this skip appeared at the championship, she came back with hardware. In 2009 she defeated Canada's Jennifer Jones to capture the bronze medal and in 2007 she made the final but dropped the gold medal to Canada's Kelly Scott. Sisters, lead Camilla Jensen Skaarberg and skip Angelina competed in the 2010 Olympics and third Mette De Neergaard at the 2014 Games. The Danes qualified through winning their national championship after the Madeleine Dupont rink secured their nation a spot in North Bay at the European championship.

Daniella Jentsch is becoming familiar with competing at the world championship each spring, with 2018 being her fourth consecutive appearance representing Germany. In 2017, she finished with a 5-6 record and returns with the same line-up, with hopes of improving on their performance. The team is coached by two-time world silver medallist, Uli Kapp.

Italian Diana Gaspari and her squad get to finish their curling season on a high note, competing at the world championship, despite having just missed out on securing Italy a place at the Olympic Winter Games. The team will surely come back on the international stage fighting after losing the final qualifying match for the Olympics to Denmark. The Italians showed a strong performance to qualify for the worlds, capturing the bronze medal at the European championship. This will be the skip's 11th world appearance.

The remaining seven women's teams competing in North Bay include rising curling stars to current Olympic champions. Check back soon for part two!

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media in the build to the Ford World Women's Curling Championship 2018 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WWCC2018 #curling