Mission East For Team Muirhead As World Champs and Olympic Qualification Beckons
Scotland’s Team Muirhead will embark on their campaign at the CPT World Women’s Curling Championships which gets underway in Beijing this weekend (18 – 26 March) whilst also hoping to complete their mission of securing Olympic qualification for Team GB.
The Sochi 2014 bronze medallists are aware of how high the stakes are at this last opportunity for teams to earn Olympic qualifying points at a World Championship, however skip Eve Muirhead is keen that the team remains focused on the job in hand.
“We will be playing and fighting for a podium sport at this championship and we will be facing very tough teams out there,” said Muirhead.
“We will aim to control what we can and won’t place more pressure on ourselves, so we will take the event in steps and by retaining that focus the qualification will happen.”
That sentiment was reinforced by team mates Vicki Adams and Anna Sloan who were members of Muirhead’s rink when they last won the World Championships in Riga in 2013.
Adams said: “It is a massive thing as a team goal but by splitting it down to one stone and one game at a time it will help to simplify what we have to do through the round robin stages. The play-offs is almost like a different competition but at the same time you still need to take it a game at a time.”
Sloan added: “When you are representing your country you obviously want to do as well as you can at every championships you compete in. We want to complete the qualification process from last year and qualify Team GB, but we won’t change our approach it is basically the same process.”
Cumulative points from last year’s World Championships in Canada will be combined with points from this event in order to qualify Olympic team places. Team Muirhead finished in fifth place in Swift Current in 2016 and have changed their line up since then. Lauren Gray who joined the team at the start of this season is relishing the prospect of competing in her first World Championship.
“I am feeling very excited. I have been at big championships with the girls before so I know what to expect and will build on that championship experience, but obviously this has been my first season playing at lead in the team,” said Gray.
“We have developed a strong team dynamic and we know how to get the best out of each other and that helps when the pressure is on as we have a strong unit and good support base.
“With four time men’s world champion Glen Howard as our coach we have someone competing at the highest level, so he is right in the know about developing and changing aspects of the game as well as tactics and in a game where the skill level is so high and more physically demanding those added factors are definitely an advantage,” Gray concluded.
The team have been determined to leave no stone unturned and Sloan believes they have prepared well for this important championship.
“Having competed in Japan two years ago at the World’s we learned a lot about our planning for travelling east and that has definitely helped our preparation this time around at such a key point in the competitive cycle,” she added.
For results from the World Curling Federation please follow the following link
Photos: Perhshire Picture Agency - Graeme Hart.