World Men's Curling Championship 2014 begins Saturday

China will be looking to impress the home crowd Photo: WCF/CCA/Michael Burns

The World Curling Federation (WCF) breaks new ground when the World Men's Curling Championship 2014, presented by Ford of Canada, gets underway on Saturday 29th March in Beijing's Capital Gymnasium.

This is the first WCF World Championship event to be staged in China and only the third time that any WCF World Championship has been hosted in the Pacific-Asia region. Previously, World Women’s Curling Championships were held in Aomori, Japan in 2007 and in Gangneung, Korea in 2009.

Located in the city’s Haidian district, the Beijing Capital Gymnasium was recently renovated in preparation for hosting the volleyball events during the 2008 Olympic Games.

Twelve of the top men's curling teams in the world will be participating in this venue. They will represent Canada; hosts China; the Czech Republic; Denmark; Germany; Japan; Norway; Russia; Scotland; Sweden; Switzerland and the USA.

Five of these teams - China, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Russia took part in the recent Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

In this field, Canada is represented by Kevin Koe and his team who won the word title in their only previous appearance at this level - in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy in 2010.

The Chinese team, skipped by Rui Liu, made a significant impact at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games because of their performances, which culminated in them playing for bronze medals against Niklas Edin and his team from Sweden, the reigning world champions.

Although China didn’t win, their fourth place finish was China men’s best ever Olympic performance.

The Czech Republic team is led by Jiri Snitil again and they have been pathfinders for international curling in their country, having won bronze medals at European level in the past.

Denmark, who lost out to Scotland in last year’s World Championship bronze medal game, are skipped by Rasmus Stjerne. He returns with a slightly different line-up to the team that finished sixth at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Germany skip John Jahr was winning world medals as long ago as 1987, when he took the silver medal. After a long lay-off, he has led Germany through a successful campaign this season which saw his team qualify for the Sochi Olympics through the Olympic Qualification Event held in Fuessen, Germany.

Japan’s national champions, led by Yusuke Morozumi, were runners up in the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in 2013. They will be looking to finish better than last year’s 11th place finish at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship.

Norway are represented by the vastly experienced Thomas Ulsrud and this team counts Olympic silver medals in Vancouver, 2010 among their achievements.

The Russian team, skipped by Andrey Drozdov, who plays second stones, finished seventh at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

Scotland are skipped by Ewan MacDonald, who, with three world titles to his name, is Scotland's most successful international curler, although this is his first appearance as skip.

As part of their high-level performance programme, Sweden have selected the team led by Oskar Eriksson rather than the team skipped by Niklas Edin who won last year's world title in Victoria, Canada and then took Olympic bronze in Sochi this season.

Switzerland's team, led by Peter de Cruz, are former World Junior champions. They beat their country's Olympic representatives, skipped by Sven Michel, in this season's national final to gain the right to play in Beijing.

Three members of the USA team, including skip Pete Fenson, are Olympic bronze medallists from Turin in 2006. They have emerged this year from the USA's new performance programme to represent their country in Beijing.

Following the opening ceremony on Saturday 29th March, the teams battle it out in 17 sessions of round-robin play, until the evening of Thursday 3rd April. After this, tie-breakers will be played, if needed, to determine the top four ranked teams.

Then, as in all WCF Championship events, curling's Page play-off system will be used, in which the top two ranked teams from the round-robin face each other, with the winner of that game going direct to the gold medal game.

The loser of that game is given a second chance by playing a semi-final against the winner of the play-off between the teams ranked third and fourth.

The winner of that sole semi-final goes onto the final to play for gold or silver, and the loser faces the loser of the three versus four Page play-off for the bronze medals.

These gold and bronze medal games take place on Sunday 6th April.

Both the men's and women's 2014 World Curling Championships mark the start of a new qualification period for the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, Korea.

All WCF Member Associations competing in Beijing (and earlier at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Saint John, Canada) are eligible to enter the next WCF Olympic Qualification Event which is scheduled to take place in 2017 should they not make it to the 2018 Olympics through direct points qualification.

The 2015 Ford World Men's Curling Championship will be staged in Halifax, Canada, starting on the 28th March.

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world from Beijing. WCF Broadcast Partners for the event include CCTV in China, Eurosport in Europe, Universal Sports Network in the USA, SporTV in Brazil, TSN in Canada (RDS in Quebec). http://wmcc2014.curlingevents.com/schedule

In addition, Curling fans around the world will be able to follow selected live coverage of the 2014 World Championship events via the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

Results, statistics, news and photos from the World Men’s Curling Championship 2014 can be seen here on the World Curling Federation’s official event website:
http://wmcc2014.curlingevents.com

Event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WorldMensCurlingChampionship

Twitter: @worldcurling and @WCFmedia
Hashtags: #WMCC2014 and #curling

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