Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2013 begin Tuesday in Shanghai

The Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2013 get underway in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday 12 November. 11 Teams (six men’s Teams and five women’s Teams) from the World Curling Federation’s Pacific-Asia zone will take part in the event which will be staged in the Fei Yang Skating Centre in Shanghai’s Pu Dong District and will run until the finals on Tuesday 19 November.

In the women’s event, hosts China, Australia, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will compete for the 2013 championship title and runners up silver medals which will secure qualification to the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada in March 2014.

In the men’s event, hosts China, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will compete. China, as host of the World Men’s Curling Championship 2014 in Beijing, has automatic entry, so only one additional Pacific-Asia men’s team will head to the worlds this season.

The stakes are high for the event in Shanghai beyond the world championship berths, as three men’s and two women’s Teams competing are still actively seeking qualification for the Olympic Winter Games curling competition in Sochi in February 2014.

While the Chinese men and Korean women have already qualified directly for Sochi, the Japanese, Korean and New Zealand men’s Teams and Japanese and Chinese women’s Teams will all compete in the WCF’s inaugural Olympic Qualification Event in Füssen, Germany from 10-15 December. More information about this event: http://sochi2014.curlingevents.com

In Shanghai, the Chinese women’s team will be skipped by 2010 Olympic bronze medallist and 2009 World Champion Bingyu Wang, who returns for her ninth consecutive year. In that time, she has won six Pacific-Asia championship titles and finished runner up on three occasions.

Team Japan is also skipped by an Olympian: Ayumi Ogasawara (née Onodera), who competed in the 2002 Salt Lake and 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games. Ogasawara won a hard-fought playdown in Japan in September for the right to represent her nation again at the Pacific-Asia Championships and the Olympic Qualifier. She has won the Pacific-Asia championship on three occasions (1994, 1998, 2004).

After missing out on national qualification for this event last year, 2010 Pacific-Asia Curling Champion Ji-Sun Kim returns to skip Korea. Kim led her team to a fourth place finish at the 2012 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship.

New Zealand boasts a new line-up this year skipped by 21 year-old Chelsea Farley, bronze medallist at both the 2011 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and the Pacific-Asia Juniors.

Australia returns with experienced Kim Forge as skip. Forge has competed in six Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in the past nine years and will be looking to improve on their fourth place finish last year.

In the men’s event, five time Pacific-Asia Curling Championship gold medallist, Rui Liu, returns to skip China.

Japan is represented by the same team that lost to Liu’s team in last year’s final. Yusuke Morozumi, whose team won Japan’s September playdowns, will be looking to win his first gold medal at this Championship having finished runner-up with silver in 2008, 2009 and 2012.

Australia is skipped by Hugh Millikin, a nine-time winner of the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships, his first gold medal coming 22 years ago in Sagamihara, Japan in 1991.

The New Zealand team, skipped by Peter de Boer, which finished fifth at the 2012 World Men’s Curling Championship, will compete with the same line-up as last year where they finished sixth.

The Chinese Taipei lineup is unchanged from the 2012 Championship. Skipped by Randie Shen, the team is still aiming to finish amongst the medals for the first time in their association’s history.

The Teams will play a double round robin from Tuesday 12 November to Sunday 17. The top four Teams in both the men’s and women’s event will head into a best-of-five playoff before medal games are played at 14:00 local time on Tuesday 19.

It is the third time that the event has been hosted by China (2007 Beijing, 2011 Nanjing) in its 22 year history.

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