Scotland beat Canada in the last round of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Sursee, and by doing so avoided being relegated and having to face the qualifying competition to get back into the world event next season.
With one game of the round robin still to play, Michael McCreadie and his team of Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin, Jim Sellar and Rosemary Lenton were bottom of the table jointly with Japan and Russia on two wins and six losses. All three countries won their final games, giving them a round robin record of three wins and six losses. Switzerland also finished with the same 3-6 record.
On the basis of who had beaten who, Russia was placed in tenth place. The oher three teams had all defeated each other, so ranking was decided by the teams' draw shot challenge distances, carried out before the competition got fully underway. Scotland had the best distance (worked out on all four players making one draw to the circles) of 328 cm. Switzerland had 525 cm and Japan 598 cm. So, 73 cm means that Japan gets relegated, loses Olympic qualifying points and the country has the expense of travelling halfway round the world to play in the qualifying competition at Inverness next season. (Added at 14.45. Apparently the wheelchair qualifiers next season are in Prague. Apologies, Bob)
Am I alone in thinking that this is wrong? Surely the use of draw shot challenge distances to decide ranking should not mean that you are eliminated/relegated when you won the same number of games as other competitors? No, something is wrong. The WCF rulebook states clearly that a team tied for a place in the play-offs is not eliminated in any way other than by losing an extra game. But apparently this does not apply to ties at the bottom of the table when relegation is a possibility. So, in Sursee, DSC distance alone determined not only that Scotland finished ranked seventh, but that Japan was ninth, and consequently relegated. Should draw shot challenges be that important? I don't believe they should.
At the top of the table Korea, Canada, Norway, Italy and USA are still in the hunt for the world title. Follow the results here. And for more details of the action check out wheelchaircurling.com here.
The pic above shows Michael McCreadie in action alongside Rosemary Lenton and Jim Sellar. WCF photo by George Karrys.
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