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China and Korea are confirmed for Ford World Women’s Curling Championship

The field for the 2012 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, which will be contested at Lethbridge, Alberta’s Enmax Centre from March 17-25, is already starting to take shape after the conclusion of play at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships.

Bingyu Wang in action at the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championship (Photo Michael Burns)

Bingyu Wang and her Harbin, China based team of Yue Sun, Qingshaung Yue, Yan Zhou and Jin Li Liu will be making the trip to Southern Alberta, after capturing the gold medal in Nanjing, China on November 26. The twenty-seven-year-old Wang, affectionately known as “Betty” in this part of the world, guided her team to victory by downing Korea’s Ji-Sun Kim 11-3 in the event’s final. The Korean team, which includes Seul-Bee Lee, Un Chi Gim, Hyun-Jung Lee and Mi-Sung Shin, also qualified for Lethbridge based upon their runner-up finish within the four-team regional qualifying event.

Korea had previously upset China in opening draw play of the double round-robin tournament by a score of 9-4, but that was the only loss the Wang team would suffer during the competition. They handily vanquished New Zealand 10-2 in their semi-final game, before building a 7-0 lead in the final against Korea, based on a first end score of two, followed by steals of three and another deuce.

For Wang, who was first introduced to the game in 2001, this will be the eighth trip to the pinnacle event in women’s curling. She’s no stranger to success. She led her team to a silver medal finish at the 2008 Ford World Women’s Championship in Vernon, B.C., when she lost the final to Canada’s Jennifer Jones by a score of 7-4. The following year in Gangneung, South Korea, she finished round-robin play with a 10-1 record and captured the world title with an exciting 8-6 victory over Sweden’s Annette Norberg in the final. In Olympic action in 2010, Wang led China to the bronze medal podium in Vancouver.

This will be the third appearance on the women’s world stage for Korea’s Kim. At 24 years old, she should prove to be one of the youngest skips in the field. Last year in Esbjerg, Denmark, she led this team to a record of 2-9 and will be intent on improving upon that mark in Lethbridge.

National championship play-downs will see ten more teams from across the curling world earn the right to travel to Lethbridge and the 2012 Ford Women’s World Curling Championship. We’ll keep you posted as the action heats up.