On Friday, the Estonian wheelchair curling team ensured a spot at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing. Although the national team did not participate in the recent world championships, their results from the previous years were enough to enter the Paralympic Games.
Points for the Paralympics were allocated on the results of three world championship events. The Estonian team did not participate in this year's event, but their results from 2019 and 2020 were enough to grant them entry to the Paralympic Games in Beijing next year.
"We are proud, but also feel a huge responsibility to represent Estonia as well as possible and to be in the best shape at the Paralympics. The opponents will be tough and there are no easy wins, but all teams are beatable for us - we will dedicate the final few months for preparations to be in the best shape possible for Beijing," said Andrei Koitmäe, captain of the Estonian national wheelchair curling team.
Estonia making it to the Paralympics next year depended on the results of Italy and the U.S. at the recent world championships. Since Italy was not able to achieve a high enough result to pass Estonia, qualification points from earlier years were enough for the national team to qualify 12th for the Paralympic Games.
"The Estonian national wheelchair curling team started training in January of 2015 and reached the world's best 12 in just seven years, passing much more experienced opponents. The Estonian flag will make it to the Winter Paralympics for the first time in 20 years and it is a great achievement and an inspiration for Estonian parasports," said Estonian Paralympic Committee president Monika Haukanõmm.
The last time Estonia was represented at the Winter Paralympics was Salt Lake City in 2002, when the Estonian sledge hockey team finished sixth.
The wheelchair curling event will take place on March 4-13 2022. In addition to Estonia, China, Russia, Norway, South Korea, Scotland, Canada, Slovakia, Sweden, Latvia, Switzerland and the U.S. made it to next year's Paralympic Games.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste