World champions off to Beijing
Swiss rink hope to follow up recent world title with Grand Final glory in China
Newly-crowned women’s world champions Team Silvana Tirinzoni, from Switzerland, will compete in the Curling World Cup Grand Final in Beijing, it has been confirmed.
The Swiss quartet defeated Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg in the final of the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2019 last week in Silkeborg, Denmark to seal their place in May’s series showpiece in the Chinese capital.
Team Tirinzoni will compete for the winners’ purse of $USD 27,000 plus group-stage earnings and the skip says the money on offer shows how curling’s stature is growing.
“Years ago I played for a radio or a $50 gift certificate,” she said. “Now to be able to actually earn some money with curling shows how much the sport developed. With money events like the Curling World Cup we are making important steps towards a professional league which is very exciting.”
The team – made up of skip Tirinzoni, fourth Alina Paetz, second Esther Neuenschwander and lead Melanie Barbezat - will make their Curling World Cup debut on the grandest stage in Beijing, competing against a number of world and European medallists.
Paetz, 29, now a three-time world champion, and Barbezat, 27, joined the rink at the start of the 2018-2019 season. Tirinizoni, Neuenschwander and Barbezat all hail from Berne, while Paetz curls out of Baden.
Tirinzoni said: “I was a little burnt out after the last Olympic cycle, but Alina and Melanie brought so much energy into the team that it was easy for me to get motivated again.”
Tirinzoni’s team won the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship in dramatic fashion last weekend, requiring an extra end to defeat the Olympic champions.
Incredibly, it was the rink’s first tournament win as a unit, having finished runners-up at four events this season – the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships, the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard and two Grand Slam tournaments.
They avenged their European final loss to Team Hasselborg last October in doing so.
“I admire Team Hasselborg for many reasons,” said Tirinzoni. “They are outstanding curlers, so committed to our sport and always ready to play. Off the ice they are respectful and funny. A fantastic group of people.”
The women’s rink will join two mixed doubles pairings from Switzerland in the season finale between 8-12 May, with 2018 world champions Sven Michel and Michele Jaeggi and Olympic silver medallists Jenny Perret and Martin Rios also competing.