Japan women claim first Pan Continental title

Japan celebrate their extra end win against Korea © WCF / Steve Seixeiro

It took an extra end, but Japan have won the first-ever Pan Continental Curling Championships with an 8-6 victory over Korea in the women’s gold medal final.

This new event has featured teams from the World Curling Federation’s America and Pacific-Asia Zones. It now serves as the world championship qualification route for all World Curling nations, apart from those in the European Zone, with the top five women’s and men’s teams qualifying.

In Sunday evening’s final, Japan blanked the first end and then their skip Satsuki Fujisawa played a draw in the second end, to open the scoring with two points.

In the third end, Korea skip Ha Seungyoun managed to bring her final draw inside three Japanese stones, to score one point and reduce Japan’s lead to 2-1. In the fourth end, Korea had two well-placed stones and this forced Japan’s Fujisawa to throw away her second stone and settle for a score of one and a 3-1 lead.

Yumi Suzuki © WCF / Howard Lao

In the fifth end, Korea skip Ha Seungyoun was able to draw for two points to level the score at 3-3 as the teams went into the fifth end break. After the break, Japan’s Fujisawa was heavy with her last stone draw attempt in the sixth and had to settle for a score of just one rather than the two she was looking for, to move into a 4-3 lead. Japan added to their lead in the seventh end when Korea’s Ha’s stone rolled too far after a hit, to give up a steal of one and put Japan into a 5-3 lead.

© WCF / Steve Seixeiro

Japan led by 6-3 as the teams played the ninth end. Korea’s Ha played a draw to score two points and reduce Japan’s lead to 6-5. In the tenth end, Fujisawa could not remove a Korean stone buried behind cover on the button and gave up a steal of one to level the game at 6-6 and force an extra end.

Fujisawa had last stone in the extra end and used it to produce a hit and stay for two points and the 8-6 win that gave Japan the first-ever Pan Continental title.

© WCF / Steve Seixeiro

After her win, a delighted Fujisawa said, “I’m super happy!” And reflecting on the tight end to the game she added, “Yesterday in the semi-final we had to come back in the last two ends.  In this game it was similar but this time it was our opponent coming back. It was a tough situation, but we just had to keep our concentration and our mental state and just get through it. The ice was sometimes challenging, and we had our ups and downs. We lost some games, but we just had to make sure to keep positive, keep ourselves in the game and just enjoy ourselves on the ice.”

And Korea’s Ha Seungyoun was gracious in defeat, saying, “We had a little trouble at the beginning and middle of the game. We tried our best in the latter half but just came up a little short. We’re still a very young team and we’re going to grow, but I’m still very proud to be a silver medallist.”


Gold: Japan – Satsuki Fujisawa (skip), Chinami Yoshida (third), Yumi Suzuki (second), Yurika Yoshida (lead), Kotomi Ishizaki (alternate), JD Lind (coach)

Silver: Korea – Ha Seungyoun (skip), Kim Hyerin (third), Yang Taei (second), Kim Sujin (lead), Lee Sungiun (coach)

Bronze: Canada – Kerri Einarson (skip), Val Sweeting (third), Shannon Birchard (second), Briane Harris (lead), Rachel Brown (alternate), Reid Carruthers (coach)

Calgary, Canada

7 November 2022