Is it a Harbinger?
In the lead-up to the women's world curling championship, the usual powerhouse curling nations were mentioned as potential threats to Canadian curling supremacy. At the end of press releases and print reports, the Chinese team from Harbin province was "also competing."
Don't be surprised to see the Chinese women win this event or at the very least make it to Sunday's final. Their 9-7 stolen win over Canada yesterday was no fluke.
Skip Bingyu Wang has skipped at the worlds every year since 2005. The rink also competed in six Canadian World Curling Tour events, winning an Edmonton event while compiling a 20-15 record. They only lost one game in the Pacific Championships.
China mines curling rocks for Olympic gold.
The Chinese athletes are just that -- professional athletes who have studied, practised and devoured curling since 2001. Their men's team is equally skilled and also finished first in the Pacific championships.
Some teams will learn that a hour after you play China, you don't want to play them again.
Ottawa's Melanie Robillard is playing second for Germany. CBC carries the semi-final and final Saturday at 2:30 and Sunday at 1:30.
Ottawa's Tracy Samaan captured the provincial Tim Hortons Trophy after winning a post round-robin 10-6 tie-breaker against Trenton's Toni Rutland. Cornwall's Kevin Baker was runner-up in the Tim Hortons Colts provincials.
In another day it would have been a Brier field. Ottawa's Bruce Delaney is holding his own against a Canadian senior men's field that boasts Vic Peters, Russ Howard and Eugene Hritzuk. Ontario plays New Brunswick tomorrow. Buckingham's Agnes Charette is also hanging in.
The Canadian Wheelchair Championships started yesterday.
B.C. skip Jim Armstrong has competed in six Briers, is a former mixed and junior national winner and in the Curling Hall of Fame.
The former dentist now suffers from chronic, debilitating knee pain that forced him to give up his practice and sometimes rely on a wheelchair.
This sporadic wheelchair use has the CCA at loggerheads with the World Curling Federation.
The latter body has ruled that world event participants must use a wheelchair all the time. The CCA thinks otherwise. Canadian wheelchair athletes are split. Armstrong's Paralympics participation is in doubt.
ODDS & ENDS
Layne Noble won the first Gerry Keeler Memorial on Saturday. Competitors agreed that Keeler kept abreast of the action from above ... Rinks skipped by Craig McDiarmid and Stephanie Brown have advanced to April's OFSAA provincials ... Get ready for the first Capital One Million Dollar Draw to the Button Contest. One fan will try to draw to the button live on CBC at January's Masters of Curling tournament. The fan will get one chance to place the rock within the button ... Two late-season 'spiels need teams. The Ottawa's annual Gordie Perry (April 20-27) has Open and Ladies sections. The cost is $280 per team. Call 613-234-4119 for information ... The Richmond club presents their May 1-4 Spring Open Cash at $200 per team. If the snow is gone, they have arranged for discounted golf as well. Call 613-838-3491 for details.
READY TO THROW
The Junior and Bantam Mixed provincials begin today in Midland. Local junior reps are Christian Tolusso and Rachel Homan while the bantams are Crystal Lillico and Lynn Kreviazuk. The Dominion Regalia Men's Tankard and Women's Tankard zones start Saturday. The third annual Rainbow Bonspiel hits Ottawa this weekend.