Team line-ups confirmed for World Wheelchair championship in Scotland

  • Scotland’s Aileen Neilson © WCF / Céline Stucki

With just 12 days until the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 gets underway at The Peak, in Stirling, Scotland, the 12 Member Associations who are competing have confirmed their team line-ups.

The full team list – click ‘Teams’ above – has a blend of experience and first time competitors at world level. Also, many come from competing at 2018’s Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Taking to the ice in Stirling, five athletes can boast winning three world titles each to date – Canada’s alternate Ina Forrest, Norway’s skip Rune Lorentsen and Russia’s skip Andrei Smirnov, third Marat Romanov and second Alexander Shevchenko.

Estonia and Latvia will compete at the Worlds for the very first time having come through the recent World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2018 in Lohja, Finland. Slovakia also qualified for this year’s worlds from that event.

Estonia’s progression in wheelchair curling is evident from recent results in the B-Division. In 2015 they finished 14th, then in 2016 they were fifth and in 2018 they won the event. On all three occasions they were, and in Stirling are, led by Viljar Villiste. Latvia are skipped by Polina Rozkova, who has had two outings at the B-level.

A number of other athletes from the competing nations are making their first world championship appearances. They are:

  • Canada: Collinda Joseph (third) and Jon Thurston (second)
  • China: Xinchen Xu (second) and Zhou Yan (lead)
  • Estonia: Villiste (skip), Andrei Koitmae (third), Ain Villau (second), Signe Falkenberg (lead) and Lauri Murasov (alternate) [pictured above, © WCF / Katja Kiiskinen]
  • Germany: Wolf Meissner (second) and Melanie Kurth (alternate)
  • Korea: Jinho Cha (skip and second) and Byongseok Min (alternate)
  • Latvia: Rozkova (skip), Sergejs Djacenko (third), Agris Lasmans (second) and Ojars Briedis (lead)
  • Scotland: David Melrose (lead) and Gary Logan (alternate)
  • Switzerland: Raymond Pfyffer (skip), Francoise Jacquerod (lead) and Adelah Al Roumi (alternate)
  • United States: Mat Thums (third), David Samsa (second) and Pam Wilson (lead)

Norway, who are the defending world champions, are the only side that in its entirety competed at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2018. They are skip Rune Lorentsen (skip) – for whom this is his 11th worlds – Jostein Stordahl (third), Ole Fredrik Syversen (second), Sissel Loechen (lead) and Rikke Iversen (alternate). This team won silver at the Paralympic Winter Games and were world champions in 2017.

Just two of the gold medal winning members of the Chinese team from PyeongChang will compete in Stirling, skip Haitao Wang [pictured below, © WCF / Céline Stucki] and alternate Qiang Zhang.
Russia, who competed at the Games as Neutral Paralympic Athletes are the same apart from three-time world champion skip Smirnov replaces the Games skip Konstantin Kurokhtin. The remainder of the team is third Romanov, second Shevchenko, lead Daria Shchukina and alternate Andrei Meshcheriakov.

The host team, Scotland, has three 2018 Paralympians. Skip Aileen Neilson who makes her ninth Worlds appearance, third Hugh Nibloe and second Robert McPherson. These three athletes won world bronze in 2017 and Neilson also has a silver medal to her name from 2011.

Other world medallists in the field are:
  • Canada’s skip Mark Ideson (gold, 2013)
  • China’s skip Haitao Wang (silver, 2015)
  • Korea’s fourth Huitae Wang, third Soonseok Seo (bronze, 2016) and lead Min-Ja Bang (silver, 2012 and bronze, 2016)
  • Russia’s lead Shchukina (silver, 2017)

The World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 is the first Worlds that will take place with 12 teams, as opposed to ten teams, like in previous years.

You can follow the build-up and results of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling | @wwhcc2019) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation | /wwhcc19) and by searching the hashtags #WWhCC2019 #curling