Pacific-Asia Curling Championships begin Sunday

The Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2014 begin on Sunday 9 November in Karuizawa, Japan.

12 teams (seven men’s and five women’s teams) from the World Curling Federation’s Pacific-Asia zone will compete in the event which will take place in the Karuizawa Ice Park Curling Hall and will run until the medal games on Saturday 15 November.

In the women’s event, hosts Japan, Australia, China, Korea and New Zealand will compete for both the 2014 championship title as well as qualification for the Pacific-Asia zone places at the World Women’s Curling Championship 2015 in Sapporo, Japan (14 and 22 March).

Japan has already secured a place at the 2015 Women’s World Championship as host. Therefore, the winner of these Championships will also qualify, or, if Japan wins, then the runner-up will qualify.

In the men’s event, hosts Japan, Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Korea and New Zealand will compete.

Both the winner and the runner up of the men’s Championship will qualify for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015 in Halifax, Canada (28 March and 5 April).

The 2014 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships is the next step of the qualification process for the next Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

Qualification for this year’s World Curling Championships will guarantee all four qualifying teams’ Member Associations the opportunity to participate in the next WCF Olympic Qualification Event scheduled for December 2017 regardless of whether they garner enough points to qualify directly for the 2018 Games.

At the event in Karuizawa, the Japanese women’s team will be skipped by three-time Olympian Ayumi Ogasawara (2002, 2006 and 2014). She pursues her curling career with a slightly different team following her fifth place finish at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Team China is led by Sijia Liu with a new line up from the team she skipped to a seventh place finish at the Women’s World Championships in Canada earlier this year.

Eun Jung Kim returns to skip Korea following her team’s bronze medal finish at this Championship in 2012.

New Zealand will be skipped by 22 year-old skip Chelsea Farley. She won bronze medals at both the 2011 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and the Pacific-Asia Junior Curling Championships and will be looking to build on her experience from last year’s fourth place finish at the Championship in Shanghai.

Kim Forge returns to skip Australia. Having competed in seven Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in the past ten years, Forge and her new team line-up will be looking to improve on their fifth place finish last year.

In the men’s event, Japan will be represented by Yusuke Morozumi and his team from host town Karuizawa. Morozumi lost to China in last year’s Pacific-Asia Curling Championships final. His team went on to finish fifth at the 2014 World Men’s Championship - their best international performance to date.

Reigning champions China have a new skip this season as Jialiang Zang takes over from Rui Liu. China has dominated this event latterly, winning the men’s title for the past seven years in a row.

There is a skip change for New Zealand too, Kenny Thomson skips at third, with Scott Becker playing fourth stones. Both competed at the Olympic Qualification Event in Fuessen, Germany last December where they finished fifth. They return to these Championships with a new line-up which includes 2006 Olympian Warren Dobson as lead.

The Korean team led by skip Soo Hyuk Kim won bronze at last year’s event in Shanghai and went on to finish fourth at the Olympic Qualification Event in Germany just missing out on the final qualification games.

Chinese Taipei skip Randie Shen returns for the sixth year in a row hoping to improve on their fifth place finish at the event last year.

Ian Palangio skips Australia as they look to get back amongst the medals. With an extensive record, Palangio has won two gold, four silver and three bronze medals at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in a career that dates back to 2001.

Kazakhstan makes a second appearance at these Championships after moving from the WCF’s European to Pacific-Asia Zones in 2011. The team will be skipped by Viktor Kim.

The men will play a single round robin while the women will play a double round robin between Sunday 9 and Thursday 13 November. The top four teams in both the men’s and women’s event qualify for the final stages.

The men will play a ‘best-of-three’ semi-final series, with the results of games in the round robin counting as the first game of the ‘best-of-three’ round.

The winners of the men’s semi-final series will play in the gold medal game, and both teams qualify their Associations for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015.

The women will play a ‘best-of-five’ semi-final series with the results of the two games in the double round-robin counting as the first two games of their ‘best-of-five’ round.

The winners of the women’s semi-final series will play in the gold medal game, and the winner qualifies their Association for the World Women’s Curling Championship (WWCC) 2015, unless Japan (host of 2015 WWCC) wins, then the silver medallist will qualify for the 2015 WWCC.

In both cases, the losers of the semi-final series play in the bronze medal games. All medal games will be played on Saturday 15 November.

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will be onsite and provide live and video-on-demand coverage from the event in Karuizawa. This coverage will be available on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel

Eight Pacific-Asia Curling Championships have been held in Japan in the 23 year history of the event. This is Karuizawa’s fourth time hosting the event, having previously hosted it in 1992, 1997 and 2009.

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