World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2013 – Day 1 Round up

Ice Cube Curling Center, Sochi, Russia Photo: WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik

Canada got off to a strong start on the opening day of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2013 in Sochi, Russia, winning both of their games on the first day of play at the Ice Cube Curling Center in the Olympic Park.

The Canadian side, led by Skip Jim Armstrong, beat 2012 silver medallists Korea 7-1 and then Scotland 8-3. The Canadians consolidated their win against the Scots in the sixth end, when a draw by Skip Aileen Neilson hit a Canadian guard and raised it into the house for a steal of four.

“We were actually a little slow out of the gate,” said Armstrong about the first half of their game against Korea in the morning. “This has been a trial year, getting ready for next year, so we’ve not had too many opportunities to play together. We have a couple of new faces on the team this year and I think we will get stronger and used to each other. The facility here is great, they’ve done wonders with the ice.”

Norway, Sweden and the USA also won their opening games and only had one game each to play on Saturday. Norway beat Slovakia 7-1. For Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen, it was a satisfying win which he described as revenge, as their opening game of the 2012 championship was also against Slovakia but they lost that game and found themselves having to re-qualify for the world championships last November.

Swedish Skip Jalle Jungnell was delighted with their opening 8-1 win over reigning world champions and hosts Russia.

“This was a really good start!” said Jungnell, “it looks now like we beat Russia easily, but no – that was not the case. It was actually really close. They lost it in one end where we took two from them and then the game ran away for them.”

Russia was back on winning form by the afternoon. In a re-match of the 2012 World Championship final, Russian Skip Andrey Smirnov led his side to an 8-4 win over Haksung Kim’s Korean team. Smirnov said he and his team had spent the break between the morning and afternoon sessions analysing the game against Sweden so as not to make the same mistakes.

The USA won their opening game against China 7-4. The Chinese struck out an early lead but the Americans got back into the game in the fourth end taking three points to tie the game up and turn it round.

US Skip Patrick McDonald said “the first couple of ends of this game were a bit rocky. But in our preparations for this, we worked on how not to panic and take things shot by shot. In the fourth end we ended up with two biters and I was able to draw for three. Having missed some of my draws earlier, I took a deep breath and got right back into the game. China is a strong team. They are really good at forcing a take-out game and now they are better at doing raises and draws. They’ve developed finesse and weight control. I like playing them!”

But for China, 2012 Bronze Medallists, it was a tough start to the event. After losing to USA in the morning, they were defeated again by newcomers Finland 8-4 in the afternoon.

The Finns found winning form after losing their opening game 10-4 to Scotland. Finnish Skip Vesa Hellman put their first game defeat down to nerves: “It is the first time that we are here at the worlds, it is quite historical. We don’t have enormous expectations at this event. We need to make it to 7th or 8th place to get to the Paralympics.”

Standings after Round Robin Session 2
Rank - Team - Games/Wins-Losses
1. CAN - Canada 2/2-0
2. NOR – Norway 1/1-0
2. SWE – Sweden 1/1-0
2. USA – USA 1/1-0
5. FIN – Finland 2/1-1
5. RUS – Russia 2/1-1
5. SCO – Scotland 2/1-1
8. SVK – Slovakia 1/0-1
9. CHN – China 2/0-2
9. KOR – Korea 2/0-2

The ten teams will play a round robin. Playoff and semifinals take place on Friday 22nd with the Bronze and Gold medal games scheduled for 09:30 and 15:30 local time (MSK – Moscow Standard Time) on Saturday 23rd.

Further qualification points for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia will be awarded at the end of this year’s world championship. Only ten teams will qualify for the Games. For more information visit: http://www.worldcurling.org/curling-at-the-paralympics

Results, news and photos from the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2013 can be seen here on the event website: http://wwhcc2013.worldcurling.net

Follow live scores and shot by shot here: http://wwhcc2013.worldcurling.net/livescores
Live coverage of all games on SHEET C can be viewed worldwide here: http://russiasport.ru

World Curling Federation Wheelchair Curling Events Facebook: Go hit ‘like’ to keep updated: http://www.facebook.com/WorldWheelchairCurlingChampionships

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