Over the next week, I will be one of a team of four competing at the European Mixed Championships in Scotland. We hope to bring you updates on our progress on the website and through our Welsh Curling facebook
and twitter feed
For now however, here is the World Curling Federation’s preview of the tournament.
Wales’ team will be one of 25 Mixed gender teams from around Europe competing in the European Mixed Curling Championship 2013, which gets underway this Saturday (14 September) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The championship will be held at Murrayfield Curling Rink and will run until Saturday 21 September when the Semi-finals will take place at 10:00 and gold and bronze medal games at 15:00. The Quarter-finals will be played at 19:00 on Friday 20 September.
This is the ninth edition of European Mixed Curling Championships and the first that will have the support of the World Curling Federation (WCF) following European Member Associations decision to dissolve the European Curling Federation.
The European Mixed Curling Championship invites each European Member Association to send one mixed team consisting of two male and two female curlers.
25 nations are represented in the event, which is split into three groups.
Group A: Belarus; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Hungary; Latvia; Poland; Romania and Scotland.
Group B: England; Estonia; Norway; Russia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Wales
Group C: Austria; Denmark; Finland; Ireland; Italy; Slovakia; Slovenia; Turkey
Each group will play a round-robin series, playing each opponent once. At the end of the round-robin series, and any necessary tie-breaker games, the teams ranked first and second qualify directly for the Quarter-finals, as well as the third ranked team with the best Draw Shot Challenge result. The other two third ranked teams will play a qualification game to decide the last team entered into the Quarter-finals.
Semi-finals will take place the following day to determine which two teams will play for the gold medals and which two will play for bronze.
Last year’s champions, Scotland, return to defend their title with a slightly different line-up. Eve Muirhead is unable to participate this year due to Olympic training commitments, therefore three-time Men’s World Curling Championship gold medallist (1999, 2006, 2009), Ewan MacDonald, takes over as skip. Replacing Muirhead as the second female on the Scottish team is Kay Adams, while the rest of the 2012 championship winning team remains intact.
The Irish team, skipped by Robin Gray, includes another world champion in their ranks in the form of 2012 World Senior Curling Championship gold medal winning skip, John-Jo Kenny.
Last year’s runners up, Sweden, return with a different line-up to the one that picked up the silver medals in 2012. Gustav Eskilsson skips a young Swedish team who will be looking to go one better this year.
Fellow Scandinavians, Finland, who won bronze last year, will also be looking to medal again as they are skipped by Tomi Rantamäki this time around.
Germany meanwhile return with Andy Kapp as skip. The two-time European Curling Championship gold medal winner (1992 & 1997) will be looking to improve upon Germany’s sixth place finish in 2012.
Winners of this championship in 2011, Switzerland, are another team who line up with a younger team this year, which will be skipped by Marc Pfister. 2008 European Mixed Curling Championship hosts, Austria, have also made changes to their line-up, which will see Sebastian Wunderer skip the team.
Slovakia skip, Pavol Pitonak, returns with a slightly different team this year as does Hungary skip György Nagy, Latvia skip Arnis Veidemanis and Russia skip Roman Kutuzov. Elsewhere, Ekaterina Kirillova takes over as skip of Belarus.
Amongst other notable athletes who will be participating at the European Mixed Curling Championship include Camilla Jensen, who won silver medals at the 2007 World Women’s Curling Championship and twice at this championship, along with fellow team-mate Søren Jensen.
Pia Trulsen, daughter of 2002 Olympic gold medallist Pål Trulsen, is included in the Norway line-up while Spain will be skipped by Sergio Vez following his experience playing in the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship earlier this year.
Other skips include: Miloš Hoferka (Czech Republic); Joel Ostrowski (Denmark); John Sharp (England); Erkki Lill (Estonia); Lionel Roux (France); Federica Apollonio (Italy); Hans Roger Tømmervold (Norway); Aneta Lipińska (Poland); Allen Coliban (Romania); Urban Zelinka (Slovenia); Oznur Polat (Turkey), while 2007 European Mixed Curling Championship gold medal winning skip Adrian Meikle returns to skip Wales at this event.