An experienced and highly motivated Canadian team will begin its quest for gold Saturday morning, Oct. 23, at the 2021 Kuntai Group World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Beijing.
Canada’s rink includes Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest at vice-skip, who will throw third stones. She will be joined by skip Mark Ideson, who will throw lead rocks, Jon Thurston, who will be throwing fourth stones, and the second is Dennis Thiessen. Collinda Joseph is the team’s alternate player.
This is the same lineup for Canada that claimed a silver medal at the 2020 World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Wetzikon, Switzerland. Forrest, Ideson, and Thiessen were all members of the Canadian team that won bronze at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.
Canada has won the world championship on three previous occasions, tied with Norway and behind only Russia with four. Forrest was a member of all three world championship squads for Canada, as was Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet.
This year’s event has plenty on the line; not only will a world champion be crowned, but the event also will determine the 11 countries that will join host China in the field for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing.
The combined results of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 world championships will determine the field for the Paralympics; Canada currently sits sixth in those standings but has locked up its spot in the Paralympics field.
The World Wheelchair Curling Championship will be staged in the same venue that will host all curling events at the 2022 Winter Olympics and 2022 Winter Paralympics — the Ice Cube, which also hosted aquatics events for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
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, Oct. 29, with the bronze- and gold-medal games a day later.
The championship was originally scheduled for March 6-13 but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada will head to Beijing ranked fourth in the World Wheelchair Curling Rankings, behind China, Norway and Russia.