New Zealand went into the Asia and Pacific curling
championships underdone but should be better prepared for the
Olympic qualification event next year.
New Zealand men's coach Peter Becker told the Otago Daily
Times there had been some soul-searching after New Zealand's
disappointing performance at Naseby last week.
A plan has been put in place to put the New Zealand men's
team into a position to grab one of the last two spots for
the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, in Russia, in 2014.
The team will be picked after the New Zealand open
championships next year and it will have a comprehensive
programme leading to the Olympic qualifying event in December
next year, at a venue yet to be decided.
The key events will be:New Zealand Winter Games, Naseby
Asia and Pacific championships, Japan (November).
Olympic Qualifying Event (December).
"We also intend to send the team to Canada or Europe for
intense competition," Becker said.
He said the players felt home-town pressure during the Asia
and Pacific championships at Naseby last week when they
finished second last in the round robin and failed to qualify
for next year's world championships in Latvia.
"We had trained a lot at the rink and the team felt it was
just another practice session and were not able to lift their
performance," Becker said.
New Zealand teams traditionally take a few games to warm up
in international competition but this year there was only one
round robin of six games to reach the semifinals..
"In the past there has always been two full rounds and it has
given us time to get into form," Becker said.
It also counted against the team because it did not have any
tough pre-tournament competition.
Asia and Pacific champion China had competition on the
Canadian circuit and other teams were engaged in meaningful
competition in the lead up to the Asia and Pacific
Peter Becker said the New Zealand Curling Federation would
make sure the men's team had a better preparation for the
Olympic qualification event.
The New Zealand selectors have indicated that spots in next
year's men's teams are up for grabs and the team will be
announced after the New Zealand open championships.
The World Curling Federation has not yet decided on the venue
for the Olympic Qualifying Event.
Teams that competed at the world championships from 2011 to
2013 will be eligible to compete at the qualifying event.