Warm welcome for champs

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Their flights may have been delayed all day long but Manitoba's Canadian junior women's champs were still beaming when they finally arrived to bagpipes and applause at the airport in Winnipeg last night.

Kaitlyn Lawes successfully defended her Canadian crown at the nationals in Salmon Arm, B.C. on Sunday.

"It's awesome," Lawes said. "We're so happy ... This was a different feeling. Last year was more emotional. But this one is pretty satisfying ... They both mean the world to me."

Last year, Lawes won the Canadian title shortly after her father, Keith, passed away.

Supported by third Jenna Loder and a new front end of second Laryssa Grenkow and Breanne Meakin, Lawes will represent Canada at the world championships in Vancouver in the same venue where the Olympic curling will be held.

"It's really great now to be in our own country and go out there and have our own fans, our own ice and at the Olympic venue so, it will be lots of fun," said Loder who, like Meakin, was named to the first all-star team. "We'll go for the gold and see what happens, right?"

The worlds, to be held March 5-15, will be a test event for the Olympics.

"I'm so ecstatic to be able to get a taste of what it will actually be like to be at the Olympics," said Meakin.

"They will do all the things the Olympians will do," Grenkow said.


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