Wheelchair competitors pursuing title

JOE PAVIA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

The top wheelchair curlers in the nation are coming to town this week.

The Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships take place at the RA Centre, starting Saturday and going through April 11.

Four teams representing B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario will compete in a double round robin, leading to a Page playoff system in the Canadian Curling Association-sanctioned event.

Draws go daily at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the next world wheelchair competition.

SIX-END GAMES

Each rink fields four athletes, all of whom throw but without sweeping. The mixed gender teams play six ends, delivering the rocks from their wheelchairs. To qualify, a competitor must use a wheelchair for their daily mobility.

The curlers all remain very active, some still working at full-time jobs while others stay busy in retirement.

The sophomore entry is Team Alberta. Skip Bruno Yizek is a contracts manager for a large food service company, while third Jack Smart owns a short-term financing company.

B.C. lead Jacqueline Roy is an accomplished Paralympic athlete who competed in the 1980 Games. In her third year as a curler, Roy plays four times a week, swims three times weekly and wheels 5.5-km when it is isn't raining.

Manitoba skip Chris Sobkowicz plays two regular mixed games a week and one stick game, while also managing a community centre. His third, Richard Dudek, owns a human resources consulting firm besides curling three times a week.

Three Ontario players are 2006 national bronze medallists with a host of provincial wins. They all want to wear the Maple Leaf on their backs at the worlds.

Both playoff games begin Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., followed by the semi-final that night at 7 p.m. The final is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m.

OCA RESULTS: Two Metcalfe teams skipped by Rick Bachand and Bruce Delaney captured the double rink Silver Tankard provincial by a point last weekend. Playing on the teams were Duncan Jamieson, Mike Abbott, George Mitchell, Ken Sullivan, Dave Stanley and Greg Jamieson.

QUEBEC MIXED: Simon Dupuis represents Western Quebec at the provincials that started Monday. Team members are Isabelle Neron, Jean-Francois Charest and Marie-Josee Precourt.

PERSONNEL CHANGES: A new team has formed in Ottawa -- skip Gilles Allaire, third John Steski, second Jeff Norman and Terry Scharf ... J.P. Lachance has his teammates set for next season -- Frank O'Driscoll, Calvin Christiansen and Barry Conrad ... Winnipeg's John Meade has signed on as vice for Wayne Middaugh while Graeme McCarrel will throw third for Ontario playdown events. Ian Tetley and Scott Bailey round out the rink.

JUNIOR MEMORIES: As part of the City View's 50th anniversary celebrations, Steve Mitchell, a junior curler 30 years ago, organized a 30-year City View junior reunion. Twenty-four former juniors turned out to curl, although only nine remain active in the sport. The club will hold a formal dinner May 4 at the Centurion Hall.

CURLING THIS WEEK: TSN will broadcast the Page playoff games of the world men's championship on Friday, with Canada playing at 9:30 p.m. regardless of where it places in the top four. The first game is at 4 p.m., with a 7 p.m. encore. CBC will air the bronze-medal match Saturday (12:30 p.m.) and Sunday's final (1:30) ... The Tylenol Players' Championship begins Tuesday in Calgary for both men and women ... The OCA junior and bantam mixed provincials begin tomorrow in Oakville. Representing this area are bantams Nicol McNiven and Jason Au, and juniors Scott Hindle and Mackenzie Dixon.


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