Two Swiss teams will be battling for glory at the World Curling Championships 2002, which get under way in the United States this weekend.
In the men's competition hopes will be resting on the Lausanne-Olympique team, led by the 1998 Olympic champion, Patrick Hürlimann.
The 39-year-old, who made his world championship debut in 1986, will be making his fifth and final appearance when he lines up with his squad in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Saturday.
Hürlimann narrowly missed out on gold 13 years ago when his team was beaten by Canada in the final. This time round, Norway, Finland and Canada are likely to prove the Swiss team's main rivals for the coveted gold medal.
The Swiss women's challenge will be led by the national champions, CC Zug, captained by Manuela Kormann.
With the exception of Kormann, who took part in the 1997 world championships in Bern, none of the rest of the squad has yet to experience the pressure cooker atmosphere of a major international tournament.
However, aside from the powerful Canadians, the women's competition remains wide open, offering hope for strong Swiss challenge.
swissinfo with agencies