China win World Wheelchair gold
China have won the World Wheelchair Curling Championship after defeating Canada, 5-2, at the Richmond Curling Centre in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. The Chinese team are the first to have their name on the new trophy, The Kate Caithness Salver.
The Chinese team is skipped by Wang Haitao, followed by third player Zhang Shuaiyu, second Yang Jinqiao, lead Li Nana, supported by Zhang Mingliang and coach Li Jianrui.
Canada is led by skip and lead, Mark Ideson, backed by fourth player, Jon Thurston, third and vice-skip, Ina Forrest, second Gil Dash, alternate Marie Wright and coach Mick Lizmore.
With only single points traded in the first half, the game was tied 2-2 after five ends. China had to opportunity the blank in the sixth end, but opted to draw for a single point and go up 3-2.
In the seventh end, Canada attempted to set up for their two points, but rolled out on a hit, leaving themselves with a blank end to have the last stone in the eighth end.
Canada’s fourth player, Jon Thurston faced a draw to the four-foot against multiple Chinese stones to tie the game, but came up light, giving China two stolen points, and the win, 5-2.
“We’re very excited!” Zhang Shuaiyu. “This is my first time at a world championship so to get the gold medal makes me so happy.”
This is China’s second consecutive gold medal, along with winning both the 2018 and 2022 Paralympic Games.
Canada’s Jon Thurston shared his feelings after the game saying, “The game just ended, so it’s tough.”
“I just feel bad I couldn’t make that last shot to keep us in the game. Hats off to China, they played really well. I thought we were generating offence, but it was tough to tuck anything under, they were getting at everything. It was amazing to play at home and to have so many friends and family across Canada cheering for us. It was a great competition. We’ll look back on this very proud.”
Bronze medal game
In the bronze medal action, Sweden faced Scotland. Sweden led 3-0 after two ends, but in the third end, Scotland levelled the game with three points.
In the fourth end, Scotland extended their lead with a steal and kept momentum going from there, to win by 7-4.
Scotland’s team consists of fourth thrower and vice-skip, Gregor Ewan, backed by third and skip Hugh Nibloe, second Gary Logan, lead Joanna Butterfield, alternate Meggan Dawson-Farrell and coach Sheila Swan.
Scotland’s second, Gary Logan commented on the game, “It’s unbelievable. I don’t know where to start. In 2019, we got the silver medal, so to just dig in there in the second half and do it feels great. From start to finish, everything has been great here, from the staff to the volunteers, everyone has been brilliant. The team struggled in the start of the week but today we put our heads down and dug in and all good.”
Fair Play Award
During the medal ceremony, United States’ Stephen Emt was presented with the World Curling Federation’s Wheelchair Fair Play Award which was voted for by his fellow competitors.
“It feels incredible to be recognized by my peers and to be here with 50+ of the greatest wheelchair curlers in the world,” says Emt. “It’s nice to win, but not everybody can win. We all come here wanting to win but sometimes it’s more important to go out there and play with class and dignity and have fun and show the world that there’s more to this game than just winning medals. This sport is incredible and that’s what it’s all about is being a good sport and having fun doing what you do.”
The award is given to the individual who, in the view of their fellow athletes, best exemplifies the traditional values of skill, honesty, fair play, and friendship during a world championship.