Curling World Cup leg three, Jonkoping - preview
The Greatest Collide once again as Curling World Cup heads to Sweden
Leg three of the inaugural Curling World Cup will be the last chance for teams to qualify for the Grand Final as leg winners and will feature 24 teams from ten countries competing in Jonkoping, Sweden. Here’s all you need to know.
What’s the Curling World Cup?
It is a new four-leg international series, which started in September 2018 in Suzhou and ends with the Grand Final in Beijing this May. Leg two was in Omaha, United States in December and this week it’s Jonkoping, Sweden. Winners from each leg will gain an automatic spot in the Grand Final, alongside the hosts, China, the current world champions, the highest ranked Member Association not yet qualified as a leg winner and a specifically invited team. Full qualification rules can be found here.
So far, six teams have booked their places in the Grand Final including Canada’s Team Rachel Homan, United States’ John Shuster and Team Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan.
The matches will have eight ends, rather than the traditional ten, and if there is a tie after the eight ends, a one-stone shoot-out will decide the winner. The eight-team draw will be split into two pools of four playing a double round robin. The top two teams in each group go into their respective finals.
When does it start?
Leg three in Jonkoping gets under way on Wednesday 30 January with the opening ceremony, four days of pool matches and the three finals – women's, men’s and mixed doubles, taking place on Sunday 3 February.
Who is competing?
A world-class field will be on display once again, with a number of world champions, Olympic medallists and future stars competing in Sweden. Jonkoping will host a truly world-class field including home favourites Team Anna Hasselborg and Team Niklas Edin, former European champions Team Anna Sidorova and the legendary Thomas Ulsrud making his mixed doubles debut. Here’s a breakdown of the elite field on offer this week.
In Group A, Team Hasselborg (above) will have home advantage when they open their campaign against Canada’s Team Darcy Robertson, who have claimed two World Curling Tour titles already this season. Jiang Lijun will take the reins as Chinese skip this time around after being vice-skip in Suzhou, and Team Sidorova of Russia complete the group.
Pool B will see junior rivalries renewed when Scotland’s Team Sophie Jackson go up against Team Cory Christensen of United States in their opening game. Korea’s Team Minji Kim will try again after falling agonisingly short with their last stone in the final to finish runners-up, while Team Tori Koana represent Japan.
In Group A, reigning world champions Team Niklas Edin will aim to go one better than their runners-up spot in Omaha in their bid to secure a place in the Grand Final. The home favourites kick off their competition against United States’ Team Mark Fenner – whose line-up includes Suzhou mixed doubles finalist Korey Dropkin.
Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller and Japan’s Team Masaki Iwai return to the Curling World Cup, after competing in Omaha and Suzhou respectively, to complete the group.
Norway’s Team Steffen Walstad (above), who finished runners-up in Suzhou, will get Group B under way against Team Matt Dunstone of Canada on Wednesday. Scotland’s Team Ross Paterson are in the form of their lives after claiming their first Grand Slam title last December. China’s Xiuyue Ma complete the group.
Switzerland pair Jenny Perret and Martin Rios (above) need just two group-stage wins to seal a Grand Final place as the highest-placed non-leg winners in the Curling World Cup rankings, but they will want to qualify with gold medals round their necks and atone for their agonising defeat to Norway in the Omaha final.
Group A also features young Canadian duo Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott, Koreans Hyeri Jang and Chiwon Choi and Swedish veterans Camilla and Per Noreen.
Group B contains plenty of intrigue, not least the Norwegian selection of Kristin Skaslien alongside legendary former men’s world champion Thomas Ulsrud, who despite his talents is a mixed doubles novice! They will face siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton, both of whom have Curling World Cup experience. Maria Komarova and Daniil Goriachev return, having represented Russia in Suzhou, while Chinese pair Cao Chang and Yuan Mingjie complete the group.
For the first time in curling history, athletes are able to earn prize money while representing their country. A total of $USD 165,000 is distributed at each of the first three events. For the men’s and women’s event there is $USD 66,000 up for grabs, with $USD 33,000 in the mixed doubles.
Where is the venue?
Jonkoping will host leg three and it is a city that is very familiar with the sport. Its local club was founded in 1961 and even hosted the 1985 World Women’s Curling Championships.
The 300-capacity Jonkoping Curling Club will provide a unique experience for both athletes and supporters, with its state-of-the-art facilities and the stunning panoramic views of Lake Vattern.
How can I watch it?
Viewers in the United States can watch selected matches live on the NBC Olympic Channel and NBCSN, with CCTV5+ broadcasting selected matches in China. Outside of these countries, matches will be streamed live on World Curling TV on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
There will also be a daily live blog and live scores on https://www.curlingworldcup.com
You can follow all the latest on Twitter and Instagram and via the #CurlingWorldCup hashtag.