Sunday, March 29, 2009

Qualifying for the 2009 Men's World Curling Championship

As I looked over the list of teams that will be contesting the championship, I realized that Australia will not be there. That made me wonder about how the teams are determined. And here is a good answer:

Canada qualified by virtue of having the best finish of the Americas in last years Worlds. North America, who have two spots in the Championship, have always had teams from only Canada and the USA, so a playoff was not necessary. In 2009 for the first time, Brazil has challenged for one of the 2 spots and as a result a playoff was held between USA and Brazil in January and USA won.

The South Pacific recently held their qualifying tournament, where 6 countries, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei competed for 2 qualifying spots. China was the big winner for the second year in a row at Pacific Curling Championships in New Zealand. China captured the gold by defeating Japan 8 – 5 in the final, with Japan qualifying as the 2nd place finisher.

This will be China's 2nd trip to the Worlds, their first-ever being last spring where they finished a strong fourth at the Worlds in Grand Forks, North Dakota. They are ranked 10th in the Olympic chase and their latest effort, teamed with a solid performance in Moncton, might qualify them for Vancouver 2010.

This will be Japan's 4th trip to the World Championship, previously playing in 2000, 2002 and 2006.

The 3rd qualifying event was held in Europe in December, where 8 countries qualified from a possible 35 participating countries.

So, Europe gets to send 8 teams and the South Pacific gets to send only two? What do you figure the odds are that there will have to be some realignment in the future, based on the performance of teams from each region?



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