Ireland’s mixed team are in Aberdeen ahead of the start of the World Mixed Championships tomorrow morning.
The team are now skipped by 34-year-old John Wilson who replaced original skip James Russell who has moved to the USA. John has already represented Ireland at the World Mixed Doubles Championships in Stavanger, Norway in April this year.
The World Mixed competition, now is in it’s fifth year, will see 40 nations competing for the gold medal and every strong curling nation is present. Team Ireland are John, Ailsa Anderson, Craig Whyte, Irish debutante Niamh Begley Luke and 30-year-old coach David Hibberd. They will be going head to head with, Slovenia, Italy, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Turkey, Luxembourg and the home nation Scotland in their group.
Team Ireland recently played in the Kinross International Friendly Bonspiel and got off to an excellent start winning their first two games convincingly however they were stopped in the semi-final by a very experienced Welsh team who are also in the ‘Granite City’ for the world mixed.
The world mixed championship will be an altogether different test with a huge amount of talent and experience in a lot of the teams. Ireland will be playing the Italian team led by Denise Pimpini, who has competed in the world mixed twice before and the Scottish quartet skipped by Luke Carson, who achieved a bronze medal representing Great Britain earlier this year at the World University Games
Other notable players present at the championships will be the defending champions, Canada, skipped by Colin Kurtz, as well as Olympians Andy Kapp (Germany), Manuela Siegrist (Switzerland), Jenny Perret (Switzerland) and Martin Rios (Switzerland). There are too many world champions and medalists to mention them all!
Meet the Team:
Lead: Niamh Begley Luke, aged 25, will be representing Ireland for the first time in Aberdeen and has been heard to say that she is over the moon to be representing Ireland as she has “never represented anyone at anything!”
Second: Thirty-year-old Craig Whyte is now one of the most experience “youngsters” of the ICA having represented Ireland at five European C League and a European B League Championship.
Third: Ailsa Anderson has racked up 33 caps for Ireland at five WCF competitions and is the only surviving member of last year’s team that travelled to Kelowna in Canada to play in the World Mixed. Thirty-year-old Ailsa, who hails from Aberdeen, couldn’t be happier to represent Ireland in her home ice rink.
Skip: For John Wilson this will be the first of three WCF competitions that he will be competing in this season (the World Mixed, the Mixed Doubles Qualifiers and the European C League) and he hopes that this will be an exciting season for the Irish Curling Association.
You can find the team’s schedule here: https://worldcurling.org/events/wmxcc2019/?page=schedule