CURLING: 15th place finish for Guyana at World Qualification event

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Guyana’s national Mixed Doubles Curling team, comprising Rayad Husain and Farzana Husain, claimed 15th place overall in the recent World Mixed Doubles Qualification Event at Greenacres Curling Club, just outside of Glasgow, Scotland.

This is the first year the World Mixed Doubles Championship has been split from an open entry event. Sixteen teams qualified directly to the 2020 World Championship in Kelowna, BC, Canada, from last year’s event in Norway.

Those who did not qualify were offered the opportunity to compete in Scotland for the remaining four entries in the 20-team field in Canada.

Twenty-eight teams were divided into four groups at the inaugural qualification event, where Guyana was drawn into Group A with tournament favourites China and Germany, as well as Denmark, Kosovo, Ukraine, and Wales.

The six-game round-robin began for Guyana on Day Two (after receiving a bye on Day One) with two age old powerhouses of international curling, Germany and Denmark.

The Guyanese duo started slowly against the Germans, spotting a five-ender in the first end. However, they began to make up ground bringing the score to 5:4 after three ends. That is where progress stalled, and the Germans ran away with the game ending 11:5.

In the evening, another tough task for Guyana against Denmark. At the halfway point, the Guyanese were ahead 4:1 even with a couple of missed opportunities for extra points.

After seven ends and forcing Denmark to a single point on their power play in the sixth end, Guyana led 5:4. To the credit of the Danes, they played a perfect eighth end, which resulted in a steal of one to force the extra end. Another perfect end, and a bad call by the Guyanese gave Denmark another steal and the game 7:5.

Team Guyana keeping a close eye on proceedings

The disappointment of the first two games, and particularly the Danish game, did not carry over though. Three decisive wins in a row gave the team some momentum with wins over Ukraine (8:2), Kosovo (9:2), and Wales (9:4).

With a 3-2 record on the final day, the momentum ceased playing a very strong Chinese team (one of a few beginning preparations toward the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022).

Ice reading was tricky in this final game, and the Chinese were able to find the right weights and lines leading to a 13:2 win. It was a sad ending for the brother-sister duo as their play was great through the week.

On a 3-3 final record, the team finished fourth in the Pool of Death, and 15th out of 28 overall. The Germans and Chinese advanced from the group to the playoffs where they won the right to qualify their countries for the 2020 worlds alongside Korea and Italy.

Reflecting on the championship, Rayad Husain offered some thoughts: “Obviously 15th place is not where we want to be. However, given the pool that we were in with three strong teams, of which two qualified to the world championship, we can’t be too disappointed. The game against Denmark is a game we would like back, but we’ve learned from it and take it as experience for the next time.”

Asked about the goals moving forward for the team, he said: “We feel very positive after this event. We know we are capable of better than what we showed here, and feel determined to make it happen next season. We are definitely amongst the middle of the pack, and now need to do the right things to get us to the next level, and we are ready to do what it takes to achieve that.”

The next event for the Mixed Doubles team will be a major cash event in Toronto from January 17-20, featuring top Canadian teams, as well as China, Korea, Australia, Poland, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Following this event, Rayad and Farzana will join forces with Baul Persaud, who competed in last season’s America’s Challenge, and newcomer Roslyn Baichoo to play a few events in Canada to prepare for their debut in the World Mixed Championship (four-person team) in October 2020.

The Guyana Curling Federation wishes to express its gratitude to Rock Solid Productions Inc. for their continued support, as well as Goldline Curling Supplies for supplying the team kits.

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