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Wheelchair curling not quite as easy as it looks

Canada will be looking for more curling magic in 2010 when theParalympic Games kick-off this weekend, following gold and silverperformances in the Olympics.

Canada will be looking for more curling magic in 2010 when the Paralympic Games kick-off this weekend, following gold and silver performances in the Olympics.

Wheelchair curling will begin on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with Canada’s first test against Great Britain, in the rematch of the 2006 Turin gold medal match, a game that Canada won.

Unlike the Olympics, there is only one wheelchair curling team, as men and women compete together.

The two major differences between Paralympic and Olympic curling are no sweeping, and competitors compete, as the name suggests, from a wheelchair.

Players throw rocks from a still position, locking into place, with a teammate as an anchor to keep the thrower in position. The thrower then uses a stick with a clamp on the end to push the stone.

The process sounds simple, but even the team’s head coach, Joe Rea, who has curled both forms, admits it’s far harder than it looks.

“I mean golf looks pretty easy on T.V. right? But you go and do it and it’s really hard,” said Rea. “You’re trying to generate (speed) with a 42-pound rock from a dead stop … with just a push motion.

“And trying to generate power with maybe no core muscles is a big issue.”

For first time spectators to the sport, Rea thinks everyone will leave amazed.

“I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you came out to watch by just how good these guys are.”

 
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