Women's world curling in Calgary gets green light, but German team in limbo

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CALGARY — The women's world curling championship in Calgary has the go-ahead from public health officials, but the status of Germany's team is unclear.

Two Germans tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-tournament screening after arriving in Calgary.

The other 13 teams in the 2021 LGT World Women’s Curling Championship were cleared to practise Thursday at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre.

The championship opens Friday.

The two participants who tested positive remain in isolation until cleared for release by Alberta's chief medical officer, the World Curling Federation said Wednesday in a statement.

The rest of the German team, which tested negative, requires more testing to get approval to get on the ice.

"We continue to work with public health authorities and a further determination of the remaining team members' ability and timeline for the return to sport is yet to be finalized," the WCF said.

Four-person curling teams bring an extra player, called a fifth or an alternate, to major championships to draw into the lineup in the event of illness or injury.

Teams can compete with three athletes, although that is a significant disadvantage when it comes to sweeping.

The Germans are scheduled to face Russia in Friday morning's opening draw.

Wednesday's practice was cancelled.

The championship April 30 to May 9 is the main qualifier for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Canada, skipped by Kerri Einarson, opens Friday against reigning Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden.

This year's women's championship, which was relocated from Switzerland because of the pandemic, is the eighth and final curling event in Calgary held without spectators in a controlled environment to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Canadian women's, men's and mixed doubles championships were followed by the men's world championship and a pair of Grand Slam events.

The men's world championship playoffs were interrupted by four participants testing positive for the coronavirus.

The championship was completed April 11, however, with the WCF stating the cases were "false positives". Those affected tested negative in subsequent screens.

Teams are confined to the arena and the tournament hotel across the Trans-Canada Highway. They drive themselves back and forth.

Masks are mandatory once athletes step off the field of play.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press