Opening day victory!

Jon Thurston delivers a stone at the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2020, Wetzikon, Switzerland
© WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2020

Victorious in session 1, canada looks to build on legacy of success at 2020 world wheelchair curling championship

Canada is out of the gate on a winning note and has their eyes firmly set on the top podium spot at the 2020 World Wheelchair Curling Championship from Wetzikon, Switzerland as they opened play with a session 1 victory over Slovakia by a score of 7-5. 

The Canadian team, comprised of skip Mark Ideson of London, Ont. (throwing lead stones), Jon Thurston of Dunsford, Ont. (throwing fourth stones), Ina Forrest of Armstrong, B.C., Dennis Thiessen of Sanford, Man., alternate Collinda Joseph of Stittsville, Ont., coach Wayne Kiel of Balgonie, Sask., and assistant coach Mick Lizmore of Edmonton, found themselves facing an early deficit in session 1 surrendering five points to Slovakia’s Radoslav Duris in the first three ends. 

Unshaken, Canada would rally, taking three points in the fourth followed by consecutive steals of a single in the fifth and three in the sixth end to jump out to a 7-5 lead. The seventh would then be blanked and Canada would run Slovakia out of rocks in the eighth to secure the victory. 

With only a single game on their opening day schedule, Canada now sits at 1-0 and faces Russia in their next match March 1 at 3 p.m. (all times eastern).

Canada will play an 11-game round-robin, with the top six teams from the 12-team field making the playoffs. The first- and second-place teams will go straight to the semifinals, while No. 6 plays No. 3, and No. 5 plays No. 4 in the qualification round.

The qualification round and semifinals are on Friday, March 6, with the bronze- and gold-medal games on Saturday, March 7.

There are 12 total teams in the event, including Canada, 2019 champions China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Korea, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden and hosts Switzerland.

Team Canada finished with a 5-6 record at last year’s World Championship in Stirling, Scotland — part of a four-way tie for seventh place. But tiebreaking formulas dropped Canada to 10th place and relegated to the B Pool for the 2019-20 season.

In December, Ideson skipped Canada to a gold medal at the world B Pool qualifying event in Finland, which clinched a berth into the 2020 World Championship in Switzerland.

Ideson, Forrest and Thiessen were all members of the Canadian team that won bronze at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang. Additionally, they were all members of the last Canadian team to reach the podium at the World Wheelchair Championship; they played for the Jim Armstrong-skipped team that won gold in 2013 at Sochi, Russia.

Canada is tied with Norway and Russia with the most gold medals at the World Wheelchair Championship at three.

The 2020 World Wheelchair Championship also will give countries the chance to gain qualifying points to earn a place in the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing. The combined results from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 (in Beijing) World Wheelchair championships will determine the 11 countries that will join host China in the Paralympic field.

For additional details about the 2020 World Wheelchair Curling Championships, including schedules and team rosters, visit the World Curling Federation’s event website here.

Select matches will be streamed live! Click here for more.

Curling Canada