Mixed doubles curling welcomes a range of experience

  • Team Japan Photo © WCF / Richard Gray

Just two months after the success of mixed doubles at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, the world championship arrived in Oestersund, Sweden and saw the Olympic teams from Finland and Korea return to the ice.

Though they were not the only Olympians taking part.

Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa and Tsuyushi Yamaguchi also competed at the Olympics, but as members of their country’s men’s and women’s teams. Despite that experience, this is their first international mixed doubles event, which has been a long time coming, according to Olympic bronze medal winning skip, Fujisawa. “I wanted to try mixed doubles curling for some time, and this year it was in the Olympics, so I took the chance,” she says.

“Most years they can’t play at the national championships, because it’s at the same time as the Olympics. But this year they had time, so they decided to try mixed doubles as well, for the first time,” adds coach, J.D. Lind.

In another first, one of the World Curling Federation’s newest member associations, Guyana, made its curling debut, with siblings Farzana and Rayad Husain representing their country. Rayad is also the General Secretary of the Guyana Curling Federation, which launched just last year and has the Husains as the only current athletes.

“After we launched the Federation last year, some people in Guyana came up and told us that they’d seen curling on TV, but it’s not really popular yet. Now people are following us here, so hopefully in a few years maybe they’ll really like curling like our neighbours in Brazil have taken to it,” says Rayad.

“This has been a whole learning experience. We’ve actually watched all of these players before and it’s so incredible just seeing them out there. They’re real powerhouses of curling and just being around them is incredible,” adds Farzana.

Even for the more experienced players, the transition has not been easy.

“We have no sweeper, and no skip. So communicating about the ice has been difficult,” says Fujisawa.

“I would like to learn more about the ice and improve the ice-reading as well,” adds Yamaguchi.

So far, Japan have managed to give a close chase to their opponents, losing both their games only by a point. “We’ve lost two games, but we want to play better. Hopefully we can stay long enough for that,” says Fujisawa. “We just need to adjust to the ice, communicate, and keep smiling,” she adds.

While Guyana has also conceded defeat in their matches so far, they are looking forward to the further games. “Brazil would be intriguing to play with, because we do know them, and also it would be the first time that the WCF would have an all-South American game. We’re just honoured to be representing our country for it,” says Rayad.
Written by Sports Media Trainee, Dakshiani Palicha

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media in the build to the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2018 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WMDCC2018 #curling