Chuncheon, South Korea
February 25, 2012
Russia won the gold medal at the World Curling Wheelchair Championship 2012 in Chuncheon, South Korea on Saturday defeating hosts Korea 9-1 in the final. The Koreans took the silver medal. China won the bronze medal, winning their game against Slovakia 7-4.
In front of a home crowd at the Uiam Ice Rink, the Koreans (Skip Hak Sung Kim, third Seoung Won Jung, second Mi-Suk Kang and lead Byeong Il Noh) took their only point of the game in the first end. From then on, the Russians, (Skip Andrey Smirnov, third Marat Romanov, second Aleksandr Shevchenko and lead Svetlana Pakhomova) took advantage of missed shots by their opponents to win the game.
In the third end, Russia stole three points when Kim was heavy with a hit and roll and rolled out of the house. In the fourth end, Kim’s last stone hit a guard and gave the Russian’s another two points. The Koreans shook hands at the end of the seventh end, giving Russia the 2012 title.
“We feel very good, excellent actually, to have this win, we can’t wait to get back to Moscow and the celebrations that we will have there!” said Smirnov. “The Koreans gave us a hard game. It was not as simple as the score looks. But we are very happy to win the gold medal.”
“Today’s game didn’t work out as well as we thought,” said Kim, “my team were all a little tight, they couldn’t loosen up. Nervousness made our shots go wrong and we didn’t make the shots we thought we would make, and we really struggled.”
He added: “We need to try and read the ice a little better, that was critical in this tournament. Second of all, our players need to learn how to enjoy themselves more. If you concentrate too much on winning, then your body tightens up so we need to learn how to relax. As a skip, I want to try and make an environment where the players can relax a little more.”
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*hammer/last stone first end
The Bronze medal game was between China (Skip Haitao Wang, third Wei Liu, second Guangqin Xu and lead Qiang Zhang) and Slovakia (Skip Radoslav Duris, third Branislav Jakubec, second Dusan Pitonak and lead Monika Kunkelova). The outcome of the game was virtually decided in the fifth end when the Chinese stole three points and led 7-2.
The Slovaks played on until the eighth end, picking up a further two points in the seventh. With the score at 7-4, Slovakia needed four points for a win or three points to tie. With a chance for the tie, Slovak Skip Radoslav Duris tried to bury his first shot behind two Chinese guards but ended up out in the open. Chinese Skip Haitao Wang made a take out to seal their 7-4 win.
“The game is over at last! Now we can relax but we are very excited to have won,” said Wang. “We feel great, but our goal is a gold medal in the future.”
“We think we played quite well in seven of the ends, but when we lost three points, this end ultimately led to the final outcome,” said Slovak Coach Frantisek Pitonak.
He added: “First of all, qualification for next year’s event was our main objective. Our biggest dream was to stay in the World Championships, which meant finishing in eighth place or above. But then, our focus changed when were playing better and better.”
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*hammer/last stone first end
Hak Sung Kim, Skip of Team Korea, was awarded the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Championship Sportsmanship award. Kim was nominated by his fellow competitors. They were all invited to nominate a player at the event who, in their view, best exemplified the traditional values of skill, honesty, fair play, sportsmanship and friendship.
To see the previous recipients of the award visit: www.worldcurling.org/wwhcc-sportsmanship-award
WWhCC 2012 - Final Standings:
1. Russia 9-3 GOLD
2. Korea 8-3 SILVER
3. China 9-3 BRONZE
4. Slovakia 7-5
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 each other at the event.
Further qualification points for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia have been awarded following this year’s world championship. For more information visit: www.worldcurling.org/curling-at-the-paralympics
About the Skips:
Russian Skip Andrey Smirnov has been part of the Russian Wheelchair curling team since 2004. The 38 year old from Yekaterinburg began to skip in 2005. His highest place finish prior to this championship was fourth at the World Championships in Prague last year losing the bronze medal game to Norway.
Korean Skip Hak Sung Kim first skipped a Korean team at the World Championships in 2004 in Sursee Switzerland. His best World Championship performance ahead of this Championship was a silver medal finish in 2008, once again in Sursee. He followed that with a Silver medal in Vancouver at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. While Korea competed at last year’s world championship in Prague, it was not Kim’s team that represented their country. Kim who celebrated his 44th birthday at the championships on Thursday is from Wonju.
21 year old Chinese Skip Haitao Wang and his team started competing at international level in 2008 – winning the World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event to get to the 2009 World Championships in Vancouver where they finished 8th. With not enough points make it to the Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010, they had to qualify for the World Championships again. Wang, who comes from near Harbin in China’s Heilongjiang Province, and his team won the qualifier in November 2010 to get to Prague for the World Championships in 2011 where they finished 5th.
For Slovak Skip Radoslav Duris and his team, this is their first World Wheelchair Curling Championship appearance. His team won the qualifier event in Finland last November. Curling was introduced in Slovakia ten years ago, with wheelchair curling beginning in 2007. 37 year old Duris comes from Dubnica.
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.
Video coverage of certain games is now available on a delayed basis on the event website. See more here: www.wwhcc2012.curlingevents.com/video
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.
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.
World Curling Federation Wheelchair Curling Events Facebook: Go hit ‘like’ to keep updated: www.facebook.com/WorldWheelchairCurlingChampionships