World Juniors: Fleming and Smith Back on the Medal Hunt
After both successfully retained their national titles in Aberdeen earlier this season, Lockerbie’s Hannah Fleming (below) will be putting up a stout defence of her world crown and Perth’s Kyle Smith (right) will be looking to improve on last year’s bronze medal when they once again represent Scotland in the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships, which get underway in Sochi, Russia on Thursday 28th February.
Photos: © Richard Gray/WCF 2012.
Altogether ten women’s and ten men’s teams will compete in Sochi’s Ice Cube Curling Center, which will be the curling and wheelchair curling venue for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. This will be the first time that Russia has hosted the World Junior Championships, and this test event for the 2014 Winter Olympics comes hard on the heels of the 2013 World Wheelchair Championship.
Last year in Ostersund, Hannah Fleming led Scotland’s successful defence of the title and three members of that team are returning – Fleming herself, third Lauren Gray and lead Abi Brown – with second player Jennifer Dodds replacing Alice Spence who aged out after last season (to be eligible to play in the World Junior Curling Championships, a player must be less than 21 years of age by the end of the 30th day of June of the year immediately preceding the year in which the championship is to take place). Vicky Wright will act as alternate for this event, with Olympic champion Debbie Knox continuing in her role as team coach.
To win last year, Scotland beat the Czech Republic in the final, and four members of that silver-medal squad, including skip Zuzana Hajkova, return again this year.
The eight other women’s teams taking part are representing Canada, Denmark, Japan, Norway, hosts Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
In the men’s event, Scotland beat Norway for bronze in Ostersund last year, and four members of Kyle Smith’s squad, including skip Smith himself, return this season, with Kyle’s s younger brother Cameron coming in at lead to join Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and alternate Hammy McMillan. The Scottish men are coached by David Ramsay. Of this year’s Norwegian team, only skip Eirik Mjøen has previous World Junior Championships experience, having been a member of last year’s squad. Team photos: Brad Askew.
The ten men’s teams involved this year are: defending champions Canada, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, hosts Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
The Scottish women will be first in action on Thursday afternoon as they face USA. After that, the Scottish men face China on Thursday evening.
Gold and bronze medal finals, for both men and women, take place on Sunday 10th March.
Round-robin play commences on Thursday 28th Februaryand continues until Thursday 7th March. Thereafter tie-breakers will be held if needed, followed by Page Play-offs, with the gold and bronze medal games being staged on Sunday 10th March.
Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of the event on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV
The live coverage schedule is available along with news, live scores and galleries on the event website: http://wjcc2013.curlingevents.com
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club will be following Scotland’s progress with full game reports and daily updates on this website.
For team line-ups visit: http://www.wjcc2013.curlingevents.com/teams
World Junior Curling Championships Facebook Page: Hit ‘like’ to keep updated: http://www.facebook.com/WorldJuniorCurlingChampionships