Three things have Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest excited about being named to Team Canada to compete March 3-10 at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Stirling, Scotland.
One — Forrest is familiar with the facility; Two — Canada could field a team with three women starting; Three – she has a chance to make wheelchair curling history by becoming the first player to win four world championships.
“That’s definitely motivation,” said Forrest, who won gold at the World Wheelchair Championships in 2009 in Vancouver, 2011 in Prague and 2013 in Sochi, Russia. “The other thing that’s exciting is we could have three females in the starting lineup. Girl power.”
Forrest currently is tied at three world championship gold medals with fellow Canadians Jim Armstrong and Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet; Russians Andrey Smirnov, Marat Romanov, Aleksandr Shevchenko and Svetlana Pakhomova; and Norway’s Rune Lorentsen and Jostein Stordahl.
Canada is sending a blend of battle-tested veterans and fresh faces to Stirling.
Forrest and two teammates from Canada’s Paralympic bronze-medal team in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Mark Ideson of London, Ont., and Marie Wright of Moose Jaw, were named to the team along with Team Canada rookies Collinda Joseph of Stittsville, Ont., and Jon Thurston of Dunsford, Ont.
Wayne Kiel of Balgonie, Sask., will coach the team in Stirling.
“We’re really excited about the composition of this team,” said Kiel. “The experience factor provided by Mark, Ina and Marie is crucial, but that rookie enthusiasm from Collinda and Jon should make a big difference in Stirling. This group performed outstandingly during the assessment process and we believe this has the potential to be a podium team.”
The players were selected from a pool that started the season with 12 candidates and was whittled down to nine in the fall. Ideson, Joseph and Wright were then selected to the team based on performance, while Forrest and Thurston prevailed at a final two-day skills-based shootout earlier this month in Moose Jaw.
Ideson will skip the team, while the other three positions, and the alternate spot, will be determined following a four-game series against the U.S. team, scheduled for Feb. 1-2 in Winnipeg.
Forrest, Ideson and Joseph were part of the winning team at an international competition at the same facility in Stirling in October.
“The ice was great,” said Forrest. “The event featured about five of the national teams that will be competing at the world championships.”
Canada enters the 2019 World Wheelchair Championship ranked fourth in the world, behind top-ranked China, Norway and Russia. Canada last won gold at the tournament in 2013.
For more information about the 2019 World Wheelchair Curling Championship, go to www.worldcurling.org/wwhcc2019