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Factbox: Wheelchair curling

March 07, 2014, 4:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 07, /ITAR-TASS/. This discipline is an adaptation of curling for wheelchair athletes with disabled limbs or gait. Paralympic curling differs from traditional discipline in the way athletes move on ice and in absence of sweeping - rubbing the ice in front of the moving stone with a special brush.

Two teams of four players of both sexes, at least one for each, and one substitute, aim at the centre of the target called house. Athletes are allowed to launch stones on ice from the static wheelchair using either hands or a special extendable stick with a plastic end called extender. The rules are largely similar to that in conventional curling.

The first world wheelchair curling championship took place in Switzerland in 2002; the same year the International Paralympic Committee assigned this sport an official status. As a Paralympic discipline, wheelchair curling was first performed in 2006 in Turin, Italy; eight teams participated. At the Games in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010 the number of participating teams grew to ten. Canadians dominated both competitions. Wheelchair curling is now practised in 24 countries.

The wheelchair curling tournament at the XI Paralympic Games in Sochi will be held on March 8 - 15 in the Ice Cube arena. Ten teams will participate. The Russian national team will have its debut. In February 2012 Russian won the championship in Korea outperforming the hosts with a 9-1 score.

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