The 2020 world curling championships, cancelled because of COVID-19, will not be played at a later date.
When the World Curling Federation cancelled the women’s, men’s and mixed doubles championships set for March and April, it said it would be discussing potential options including rescheduling the events — perhaps playing them in the fall at one venue.
CBC Sports has learned that will no longer be the case.
“We were holding out hope, but I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” skip Brad Gushue told CBC Sports on Wednesday from St. John’s, N.L.. “I think based on the environment we’re in right now it’s not a surprise at all. But I was certainly hoping that we would get some good news in a month or two.”
Gushue and his rink from Newfoundland and Labrador were preparing to make their third world championship appearance in the past four seasons after capturing the Brier in Kingston at the beginning of March.
Gushue won the title in 2017 and lost the championship game a year later to Sweden’s Nik Edin.
“At this point in my career, I’m 39 years old, I don’t know how many more opportunities I’m going to get. You feel like you’re cheated a little bit,” Gushue said.
Kerri Einarson’s all-skip team from Manitoba was eager to represent Canada at the world championships that were set to take place in Prince George in mid-March.
It would have been Einarson’s first appearance skipping at the tournament.
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Gushue said he’s had the privilege of being on the world stage before so he can put it all in perspective, but he sympathizes with Einarson and her team.
“I really feel for Kerri and her team,” he said. “They haven’t had a chance to go to the worlds. This would have been our third time. Mark (Nichols, a Gushue team member) and I had the Olympic experience as well.”
Gushue won Olympic gold in 2006 in Turin, Italy.
Gushue understands that health and safety are the most important thing, but he admitted to being disappointed about the missed opportunity to capture another world title for Canada.
“When it was leading up to when it was supposed to start, it started to hit me. I had a couple days where I was probably more grumpy than normal,” he said.
WCF to decide new Olympic qualification process
The curling federation will now decide how they are going to move forward and what ramifications the cancellations have on the Olympic qualification.
Olympic qualification points accumulated from the two world championships leading into the Olympics in Beijing 2022 were going to initially determine what countries would qualify for the Games.
After the completion of the 2021 world championships the top seven highest-ranked countries would qualify for Beijing.
But now that this year’s tournament has been removed from the process, it’s up to the WCF to determine how to move forward.
The WCF told CBC Sports on Wednesday it would be announcing new guidelines soon.