2014 World Junior Curling Championships

The 2014 World Junior Curling Championships got underway in Flims, Switzerland on Wednesday morning.

Round-robin play continues until Sunday evening with medal games on Wednesday 5 March.

For viewing purposes, which I will discuss later, Flims is one hour ahead of the UK. This is the third time the town has hosted this event having done so previously in 2003 and 2010.

With the recent focus of international curling having been on Sochi and the Winter Olympics, it’s now time to see how the potential Olympians of the future fare in junior curling’s biggest tournament.

For those unfamiliar with eligibility regarding this event, competing players must be less than 21 years of age by the end of 30 June of the year immediately preceding the year in which the championship is to take place.

So who is competing at the Waldhaus Arena?

Junior men’s teams: Austria, Canada, China, Italy, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, USA

Junior women’s teams: Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Korea, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, USA

Austria’s junior men are making their debut at this level.

Here’s who is representing Scotland over in Switzerland:

Scotland Junior Men (L-R): Kyle Smith (Skip), Thomas Muirhead (Third), Kyle Waddell (Second), Cameron Smith (Lead), Duncan Menzies (Alternate)

Kyle Smith returns to defend his World Junior title that he won with this team in Sochi in 2013 along with coach David Ramsay and they have a great chance of retaining the brilliant gold they won last year.

Scotland Junior Women (L-R): Gina Aitken (Skip), Naomi Brown (Third), Rowena Kerr (Second), Rachel Hannen (Lead), Mhairi Baird (Alternate)

Having won her first Scottish Junior title at the end of January, Gina Aitken earned the right to take her team to the World Juniors for the first time – they have coach David Aitken with them in Switzerland.

The very best of luck to both Scotland teams in Flims.

Scotland has a great record at the World Juniors and the last time neither team managed a medal was back in 2003.

So how did the two 2014 teams fare on the first day of play?

Scotland’s junior women were up first and faced first-timers Korea but despite the Koreans inexperience at this level they ran out 10-7 winners after an extra-end. Gina and her team made up for this with an 8-7 win over Denmark in their second game.

Kyle and his defending champions have had a great start – they beat Austria 9-4 and then the USA 7-2.

Junior Men’s Standings (W-L)
2-0 Italy, Norway, Russia, Scotland
1-1 Sweden, Switzerland
0-2 Austria, Canada, China, USA

Junior Women’s Standings (W-L)
2-0 Canada, Russia, Switzerland
1-1 Korea, Scotland, Sweden, USA
0-2 Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy

Early days yet but a promising start from Scotland’s teams – the full schedule of play is here.

The World Curling Federation is streaming live games here on its YouTube channel.

In the round-robin phase, three Scotland games are scheduled to appear live:

Wednesday 27 – 1900 – Scotland v. USA (Junior Men)
Saturday 2 – 1300 – Scotland v. Switzerland (Junior Women)
Sunday 3 – 1500 – Scotland v. Italy (Junior Women)

All times are UK.

For all the latest scores and more information the official event website is here.

Photos are © WCF/Richard Gray 2014
Image is © WCF