Yes, I know I said that I wouldn't post anything until tomorrow, but I did get the opportunity to look in at the arena tonight, and enjoy Hakan Sundstrom's hospitality and organisation - the Swedish Curling Association General Secretary, well known to many Scottish curlers, is in charge of the media here at the World Junior Championships. I was able to gatecrash a press conference for the local media. Facing the questions was WCF President Les Harrison (above).
I asked him about the use of the Draw Shot Challenge (or Team Draw Shot Distance as I think it should be called for clarity) which is used to determine rankings and, in the World Wheelchair Championships, was used to decide who got relegated and who didn't, when teams finished in the relegation zone. No additional relegation games were played.
Is this going to be the case here at the World Juniors? Yes it is! Remember a couple of years ago in Korea, Sweden and Scotland finished tied in the rankings. Then, a relegation game was played. Scotland won, and stayed up. The Swedish girls lost, and had to try to prequalify. Hard, but fair. If this situation happens again, there will be no game. The team with the best TDSD will go up, the one with the poorer will go down.
"Surely this is not right, " I asked Harrison. The TDSD was not meant to decide such matters, carried out as it is right at the beginning of the event. But he would not be drawn on this, repeating only that the WCF member nation representatives had unanimously approved the new rules. Apparently only Sweden has written to the WCF office to ask that this rule be considered again. The RCCC has not. I believe they should, but as Harrison says, "That's your opinion." Anyhow, Harrison says that the WCF has no plans to reconsider the regulation.
Let's just hope that no team is relegated just on the basis of the Team Draw Shot Distance this year. I'll try and report when this is carried out and what the results are. Incidentally, the TDSDs are used to decide ranking at the top end of the table too, but no team there can fail to qualify for the playoffs without playing another game.
Right, that's enough of the politics. Here are the first pics from Ostersund.
Now this is a bit different. The green white and blue circles are the colours of Jamtland Province, where Ostersund is. The blue is for the lakes, the white the mountains and the green the forests. Any chance of a lobby to have tartan circles for the Europeans in Abedeen?
Some young curlers were on the ice, checking it out, in advance of the teams getting their first go tomorrow (Saturday). Most were from the Swedish Curling Academy in Harnosand.
I thought at first Warwick had gone back to school (the Curling Academy) in Sweden! But no. But can I just pose the question, "Why is Agnes Knochenhauer wearing Warwick's Scottish strip?" Did she buy it on eBay? Was it a gift? A charity auction? I may try to find out. Or I may not. Perhaps it would be better NOT to delve too deeply into such things.
The pic at the top of the page shows Cissi Ostlund and Oskar Eriksson with WCF President Les Harrison at the press conference. I show this other photo of Oscar and Cissi for the juniors who competed in the Globe Challenge at the Dumfries Ice Bowl last season, who will know that Oskar won that, and has gone on to great things, winning the Swedish Junior Championship this season. The team pic from Dumfries is here. (I wonder if Graham Sloan has a full entry for this year's event yet?)
Cissi's father Connie played in the Worlds in 1982 and 1984 and was runner-up in the Europeans in 1985. "Hi, Cissi, I knew your dad," just seemed to prove how quickly the years have gone by!
Real-time results from the World juniors will be available at www.curlingkanalen.se. The event host website is www.wjcc2008.org.
Pics by Bob
A look back at the European Championships 1997 - The European Championships twenty years ago were held in Fussen, Germany, December 6-13, 1997. That's the winners, above. The women's champions were (L-R)...
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