Wheelchair Curling is a team sport played on ice to very similar rules to Olympic Curling.
The ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Curling team went into the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games with high hopes of their second successive Paralympic medal, after winning a silver in 2006 in Turin behind gold-medallists Canada.
Unfortunately the team had a challenging start to the round-robin stage of the competition, including facing host nation Canada in their opening match. The team went on to finish 6th overall in the rankings, which meant they could not progress to the elimination stage of the competition or the medal matches.
After Vancouver, the Scottish team of Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin, Gregor Ewan, Angie Malone and Michael McKenzie rallied to achieve a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. At the 2012 World Championships in Chuncheon, Korea, a team comprised of Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin, Gregor Ewan, Angie Malone and Jim Gault, competing as Scotland, finished 8th.
Britain has historically been strong in Wheelchair Curling: the team were World Champions in 2004 and 2005, and secured world bronze medals in 2002 and 2007. The British team, which competes as Scotland at world championship level, finished seventh at the 2009 World Championships.
- First year at a Paralympic Games:
- Turin 2006
- Brief history:
- The first World Wheelchair Curling Championship was held in January 2002 and in March that year, the International Paralympic Committee granted official medal status to Wheelchair Curling for mixed gender teams
- Eligible impairment groups:
- Wheelchair Curling is for athletes who have significant impairments in lower leg/gait function
- Vancouver medal table:
2 - Japan
3 - Sweden
6 - Great Britain
- Did you know:
- The sport is now practiced in 24 different countries
Each team must include male and female players. The team is made up of four players: the Lead, the Second, the Third (Vice Skip) and the Skip.
The object of the sport is to slide stones with handles across the ice, aiming for them to come to a stop on a target, called the house, which is marked by four concentric circles. The lead delivers the first stone and the play continues with each athlete delivering two stones alternating with the opposing team. Placing the stone inside the house means earning a possible point.
The team that places the most stones closest to the centre of the house wins the point.
The stones made for Curling are made of smooth granite and have to conform to very precise parameters: a circumference of 91.44cm and a height of not less than 11.43cm. The weight including the handle must not exceed 19.96kgs. Delivery of the stone may be undertaken by the conventional arm/hand release or by the use of an extender cue.
The sport is governed by the rules of the World Curling Federation (WCF) with one major modification for Wheelchair Curling – no sweeping is permitted.
Each game is played over eight ‘ends’ with an extra end played should the teams be tied.
Ten teams compete in Wheelchair Curling at the Paralympic Games, a rule change brought in ahead of Vancouver and an increase from eight in Turin.
Wheelchair Curling is for individuals with significant impairments in lower leg/gait function (e.g. athletes with a spinal injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, double leg amputation etc) who usually require a wheelchair for daily mobility use.