World Mixed Doubles Championship 2012 Day 1

TURKEY Ilhan Osmanagaoglu & Elif Kizilkaya Photo: WCF/Volkan Atar

Hosts Turkey created the surprise of opening session of play at the 2012 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Erzurum by stealing a 7-6 win against Slovakia in an extra end.

“We believed we could win, we have a tough group to play against, with many good teams but we were confident we could do it tonight” said Elif Kizilkaya through an interpreter afterwards.

A missed shot by Slovakia’s Silvia Sykorova left the Turks lying one stone for the win.

Kizilkaya and teammate Ilhan Osmanagaoglu, are Turkey’s first ever representatives to play at a World Mixed Doubles Championship.

In the other games, the Canadian team – Dean Hicke and Chantelle Eberle – set up an early lead against the Finnish pair Jussi Uusipaavalniemi and Jaana Hämäläinen and were 7-0 up by the fourth end break. Finland took 3 points in the fifth end and a further 2 in the seventh, but were eventually run out of stones in the eighth end and Canada secured a 9-5 win.

“In the end it turned out really good!” said Eberle, “it [the ice] curls real good at four feet, it is fast.”

“They had a tough start picking up on the draw weight early and we didn’t and that may be because they had first practice” said Hicke about his Finnish opponents. “We had our draw weight right in the first end and we had them in trouble in the first three ends.”

Another surprise of the opening round, was Latvia’s 11-3 win over France. Delphine Charlet and Tony Angiboust, with his men’s world championship and Olympic Winter Games experience, were amongst the favourites coming into this event.

“We feel very good and my wife [Dace] played very well today” said Latvia’s Ansis Regza in English after the game. “We were a little bit scared about Tony Angiboust as we know how well he can play but Mixed Doubles is a totally different game.”

The Chinese duo, Yansong Ji and Sijia Liu, set themselves up for a win early taking 5 points in the second end. Their Austrian opponents Christian Roth and Claudia Toth struggled to make their mark in the game and eventually conceded with the final score at 8-4.

“We are very tired, it is so long a time since we practised. We were lucky” admitted China’s Liu speaking in English afterwards.

The game between Spain and Italy saw experienced World Mixed Doubles Championship players Sergio Vez and Irantzu Garcia being beaten by Italy’s Simone Gonin and Lucrezia Salvai. A series of mistakes by Garcia let Italy steal a total of 5 points over the game. Even changing the playing order in the seventh end, to let Vez throw last stones, was not enough to turn the game around and the Italians won 9-3.

“They played very well but had some problems in the central part of the game” said Gonin speaking in English after the game “It was good for us to force them to have to make not so easy shots. It was hard but we won!”

27 Mixed Doubles Curling teams from around the world are competing in the event at Erzurum’s Curling Arena which runs until Sunday 29th April.

The teams competing in the event are: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and USA.

They have been divided into three groups: Blue, Red and Yellow. Each group will play a round robin from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 April. Quarter-finals, semi-finals and medal games take place on Sunday 29 April.

It is the fifth edition of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship since its inauguration in Vierumäki, Finland in 2008. (Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy 2009, Chelyabinsk, Russia 2010, St Paul, USA 2011). It is the first time that Turkey, which joined the World Curling Federation in 2009, has hosted a WCF World Curling Championship.

Instead of playing in teams of four, mixed doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female (no alternate/spare player is allowed).
- The game is played on the same sheets of ice as “traditional” curling.
- Teams have only six stones each (instead of eight) - and one of those stones, from each team, is prepositioned on the centreline before each end of play starts.
- Player one delivers the first and last stones and player two plays the second, third and fourth stones. If they choose to, the two players may swap positions from one end to the next.
- Sweeping can be done by both team members.
- Each team receives 46 minutes of playing time and games are fixed at 8 ends – compared to 73 minutes and 10 ends for “traditional‟ curling.

Curling fans around the world are able to follow live coverage of the event via the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV which will be embedded onto the homepage of the event website www.wmdcc2012.worldcurling.net In a new venture for this season, World Curling Federation Championship action has been live streamed globally through YouTube.

Visit www.wmdcc2012.worldcurling.net/wmdcc-2012-live-coverage-schedule to see what games are being covered

News, live scores, image galleries and video highlights are available here on the event website

WCF Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/WorldCurlingFederation

Twitter hashtag for the event: #wmdcc2012 #worldcurling

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