Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2010 starts Saturday in Swift Current, Canada

The 2010 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Monsanto, gets underway this Saturday at the Credit Union i-plex in Swift Current in Saskatchewan, Canada.

It is the second time that a world women’s curling championship has been held in Saskatchewan. In 1983, the event took place in Moose Jaw and was won by Switzerland’s Erika Müller.

Twelve countries will be represented in the nine-day competition, with the top four teams qualifying for the playoffs, starting Friday, 26 March after the conclusion of the round robin.

The first and second place teams face off in one game, with the winner advancing to the gold medal final, while the loser goes to the semi-final.

The third and fourth place teams will also meet, with the winner advancing to the semi-final on Saturday, while the loser goes to the bronze medal game on Sunday morning, where it will play the semi-final loser. The Ford World Women’s final will take place on Sunday 28 March 28 at 3:00 pm local time (Central Time).

Canada will be represented by four-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts winning skip Jennifer Jones who won the 2008 Ford World Women’s Championship title in Vernon, British Columbia.

China is skipped by Bingyu Wang of Harbin, who last month won a bronze medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and is the reigning world champion, after capturing Gold at the 2009 World Women’s Curling Championship in Gangneung, Korea.

Five other teams which will compete in Swift Current also participated in the recent Winter Olympics - skipped by Denmark’s Angelina Jensen, Germany’s Andrea Schöpp, Japan’s Moe Meguro, Russia’s Liudmila Privivkova and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (who represented Great Britain).

Jensen won a silver medal at the 2007 Worlds. Schöpp, the reigning European champion, will be making her 17th Worlds appearance, all as skip, having won in 1988. Privivkova won the 2006 World Juniors and 2006 European Championship while Muirhead is a three-time (2007, 2008, 2009) World Junior champion.

Completing the field are: Latvia’s Iveta Stasa-Sarsune, Norway’s Linn Githmark, the 2004 world junior champion and 2004 Worlds silver medallist, Sweden’s Cecilia Östlund, the 2008 World Junior silver medallist, Switzerland's 2006 Olympic silver medallist Binia Feltscher and Erika Brown of the United States, who has twice won silver medals at both the Worlds and World Juniors.

Canadian broadcaster TSN will carry all Team Canada games throughout the round robin, followed by the playoffs and final.

World Curling TV, the television-making arm of the World Curling Federation, will be onsite producing extensive live coverage, news highlights and webstreams from the event for broadcasters outside Canada.

In Europe, Eurosport will air live coverage throughout the championship and stream additional live games onto the Eurosport Player. In the United States, coverage will be available on Universal Sports (TV & Web). In Japan, NHK's BS1 Channel will carry extensive extended coverage of Japanese and final round games. CCTV5 in China will broadcast full-length coverage of games. Coverage will also be shown on TV Globo in Brazil.

For the draw and full team line ups for this event click here:

About the World Women’s Championship:
The world women’s began in 1979 in Perth, Scotland and was contested separately from the men's championship through 1988. During that time, the women's event was held twice in Canada, in 1983 in Moose Jaw and 1986 in Kelowna.

In 1989, both championships were combined for the first time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and remained so through 2004.

During that time, Canada first hosted the joint championships in 1991 in Winnipeg, followed by five Ford World Men's and Women¹s Curling Championships (Brandon, 1995; Hamilton, 1996; Kamloops, 1998; Saint John, 1999 and Winnipeg, 2003).

Beginning in 2005, when the men's and women¹s world championships were separated once again, the Canadian Curling Association agreed to alternately stage a men's and women's event in Canada each year.

Since then, the Ford World Men's has been held in Canada in Victoria (2005), Edmonton (2007) and Moncton (2009) while the Ford World Women's was staged in 2006 in Grande Prairie, Alberta and in 2008 in Vernon, British Columbia.

Canada has won a leading 15 women's world titles since 1979, the latest by Manitoba's Jennifer Jones in 2008.

Among other world women's records, Sweden¹s Elisabet Gustafson is the only four-time winning skip (1992, 1995, 1998 and 1999) while two-time(1990,1991) world champion Dordi Nordby of Norway is the all-time leader in appearances (18 in total, 16 as skip) and games-won (111, as skip).

The Ford Motor Company of Canada began its involvement as title sponsor of the world curling championships in 1995 in Brandon, Manitoba. This marks the 16th year of title sponsorship by Ford of Canada.