Silver medal for Canada at wheelchair curling worlds

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 07, 2020

“Of course, we’re happy with the silver medal''

2020 curlingworlds

WETZIKON, Switzerland – (Curling Canada) A World WheelChair Championship playoff drought that had been ongoing since 2013 finally bore fruit on Saturday as Canada took home the 2020 World Wheelchair Curling Championship silver medal, hosted in Wetzikon, Switzerland. 

Despite an exemplary effort in the finals, the team, comprised of skip Mark Ideson of London, Ont. (throwing lead stones), Jon Thurston of Dunsford, Ont. (throwing fourth stones), Ina Forrest of Armstrong, B.C., Dennis Thiessen of Sanford, Man., alternate Collinda Joseph of Stittsville, Ont., coach Wayne Kiel of Balgonie, Sask., and assistant coach Mick Lizmore of Edmonton, were felled by Russia’s Konstantin Kurokhtin by a score of 5-4.

The 2020 silver medal marks the first time Canada has been on the podium since 2013 in Sochi, where Canada won gold. Current team members Ina Forrest, Mark Ideson and Dennis Theisson were all members of the 2013 gold medal rink for skip Jim Armstrong as well as being members of the Canadian team that won bronze at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

Canada opened the scoring early using the hammer advantage in the first end to score two points. The early lead would prove critical as the two teams would then exchange single scores with hammer until the seventh end where Russia would steal a single point, tying the game at 4-4.

In the eighth end and without hammer, Russia would make a crucial freeze to a shot Canadian stone in the back of the four-foot. Canada then threw and executed a counter freeze on the Russian stone on an angle in hopes to set up their final shot. 

Russia would then throw a centre guard in an effort to remove Canada’s favourable angles but left Canada the opportunity to play a board weight angle raise to remove the Russian shot stone and win the match. Canada’s John Thurston, with hammer, would throw the difficult angle raise, but crashed on the front guard giving Russia the steal of one and the 5-4 victory.

Despite losing the final, team Canada’s Mark Ideson still believes Canada accomplished their goals at the event.

“Of course, we’re happy with the silver medal. We set out at the beginning of the week to make the play-offs and we hoped to get on the podium and we did that,” said Ideson.

Ideson knew it would take an excellent effort and a little luck to defeat a very skilled Team Russia in the final.

“Russia played an excellent game, we just stayed in the game and everyone was playing well, but to lose, that’s curling. It was a game of inches and we lost by inches,” said Ideson. 

The podium finish remains an overall success for the Canadians. Team Canada finished with a 5-6 record at last year’s World Championship in Stirling, Scotland — part of a four-way tie for seventh place. But tiebreaking formulas dropped Canada to 10th place and relegated to the B Pool for the 2019-20 season.

In December, Ideson skipped Canada to a gold medal at the world B Pool qualifying event in Finland, which clinched a berth into the 2020 World Championship in Switzerland.

“We feel great. Last year things didn’t go our way after we ended up in the B-Division but we worked hard to get back to win a medal,” said Ideson. 

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