Day 5 Review: KOR RUS CHN & SVK to playoffs

Slovakian Skip, Radoslav Duris, led his team to victory over the USA in their tie-breaker for the final play-off spot Photo: Photo: KOSAD / Young Bok Kim

Korea, Russia, China and Slovakia are through to the playoff round of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2012 in Chuncheon, South Korea.

In the final session of the round robin on Thursday morning, Korea secured a high scoring 14-3 win over Slovakia to become the first team to reach the playoffs.

“It was a ‘must win’ game for us so it’s a great pleasure to get the win,” said Korean Skip Hak Sung Kim, “I thought it would be a one point game today. Slovakia planned for it to be a big game but they missed many shots which let us win, I think.”

Korea will meet Russia in the 1v2 Playoff on Friday morning and winner of that game will go straight to the final on Saturday.

The Russians won their final round robin game against Italy 7-4. The Italians were leading 4-3 by the fourth end break, but a series of missed shots by Skip Andrea Tabanelli let the Russians steal a win.

“Our first goal was to be in the play-offs and we have achieved this,” said Russian Skip, Andrey Smirnov. “Now, we will try to improve our performance in order to win. We want medals and of course if the medal is silver or gold it will be even better.”

China faced Norway. The Norwegians needed a win to avoid relegation to the next wheelchair curling championship qualification event, but China stole a crucial 3 points in the fifth end which set them on the way to a 6-3 win.

“We just played our normal game and took the chance to capitalise on our opponents mistakes,” Chinese Skip Haitao Wang. Looking ahead to the playoffs, he added: “For the next games, we will start from zero and try to deliver every stone well.”

In the 3v4 playoff, China will play Slovakia, winner of the tiebreaker game against USA. Both teams finished the round robin on 6 wins and 3 losses.

The tiebreak game went down to the very last stone of an extra end. USA Skip Patrick McDonald missed an attempted hit and roll and the Slovaks stole two points for a 7-5 win.

The Slovaks, who are playing their first ever World Wheelchair Curling Championship, have surpassed all their goals at this event.

“I can’t describe how I feel, I am so proud of my team,” said Slovak Coach Frantisek Pitonak. “We came here to show everyone what we can do, what we know about curling and how we can play. We hope that we’ve done that and we’re just so happy we have reached this stage of the competition.”

Losing the tiebreaker puts USA in fifth place overall. It was a tough day for the Americans as they lost their last round robin game in the morning to Canada. The Canadians needed a win, to avoid playing a potential tiebreaker for relegation. With third Darryl Neighbour skipping and Ina Forrest playing fourth stones, Canada took the game to an extra end. A missed last shot by the USA handed the Canadians a 7-5 win.

Sweden faced Scotland in the remaining game, while both teams were out of playoff contention – both needed another win to steer clear of relegation. Jalle Jungnell’s Swedish side stole their way into the game and in the fifth end, stole a further 3 points when Scottish Skip Aileen Neilson was wide with her last shot. The final score 8-4.

Korea, Russia, China, Slovakia, USA, Sweden, Canada and Scotland have all secured a place at the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship which will take place in Sochi, Russia from 16-23 February.

Norway and Italy are relegated to the World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event which will be staged at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland from 27 October to 3 November 2012. The top two teams at this event will gain entry to the 2013 World Championship in Sochi.

Standings after Round Robin & Tiebreaker
1. Korea 7-2
2. Russia 7-2
3. China 7-2
4. Slovakia 7-3
5. USA 6-4
6. Sweden 3-6*
7. Canada 3-6*
8. Scotland 3-6*
9. Norway 2-7
10. Italy 1-8
* teams are ranked according to their win-loss record against eachother at the event.

Under the Page Playoff system used at World Curling Championships:
- the winner of the 1v2 playoff goes straight to the final/gold medal game
- the loser of the 1v2 playoff meets the winner of the 3v4 playoff in the semifinal
- the winner of the semifinal goes to the final/gold medal game
- the loser of the semifinal plays the bronze medal game against the loser of the 3v4 playoff.

Video coverage of certain games is now available on a delayed basis on the event website. See more here: http://www.wwhcc2012.worldcurling.net/video

The event sees ten of the top wheelchair curling teams in the world competing in a round robin which runs from Sunday 19th to Thursday 23rd February. Playoffs and semifinals take place on Friday 24th with the Bronze and Gold medal games scheduled for 10:00 and 14:00 local time (KST – Korean Standard Time) on Saturday 25th.

Wheelchair curling is similar in many ways to its able-bodied parent game, except that no sweeping takes place, and each game consists of eight instead of ten ends.

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

Results, news and photos from the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2012 can be seen here on the event website: http://www.wwhcc2012.worldcurling.net

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

In 2013, the World Wheelchair Curling Championship will take place in Sochi, Russia from 16-23 February.

The 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event will now take place at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland, from the 3-8 November 2012.

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