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Estonia make wheelchair curling history

Team wins Worlds B to advance to next year’s Championships 16 Nov 2018
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Four Estonian wheelchair curling athletes celebrate a shot on the ice sheet

Estonia will send its first wheelchair curling team to compete at a World Championships

ⒸWCF / Katja Kiiskinen
By World Curling and IPC

"At the beginning of the week, we were ready for this, we hoped for this, but it is still an amazing feeling"

Estonia made history after winning gold at the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship 2018 on Thursday (15 November) in Lohja, Finland.

The foursome of skip Viljar Villiste, vice-skip Andrei Koitmae, second Ain Villau and lead Signe Falkenberg defeated Slovakia 7-3 in the final.

The top three finishers at Lohja would advance to next year’s World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Stirling, Scotland. Estonia’s victory marks the first time they will send a team to compete at the Worlds.

“This is just an amazing feeling, simply amazing,” Villiste said. “At the beginning of the week, we were ready for this, we hoped for this, but it is still an amazing feeling. We have worked really hard for this, like everyone else here too. I believed that this would be possible, but it’s just a great feeling now that it’s become true.”

Latvia rounds out the 13-team field in Stirling after claiming the bronze medal 6-5 against home favourites Finland.

In the Championship final, Estonia got off to a strong start with a 4-1 lead at the halfway mark. The match saw a significant leap for the Estonians when they stole three points in the fifth end after a series of missed take-out attempts from the Slovaks.

With a 7-1 advantage, Estonia defended their lead by holding their opponents to one point in the sixth and seventh end to win 7-3.

In bronze medal action, it was a much tenser affair between Finland and Latvia. Despite Latvia scoring four points early in the game, Finland battled back with a steal of two points in the seventh end when Latvia were light on a tap-back attempt.

This levelled the game 5-5 playing the final end where Latvia skip Polina Rozkova drew to the four-foot against two Finnish stones to win the bronze medal game 6-5.

Latvian skip Rozkova shared her emotions on her final stone.

“I’m feeling a little bit strange, because I made a few mistakes before, so with the last draw, I just did what I should. It was the second time in this tournament that I had to play a draw like that to win a game.”

“I think our game was a very interesting one to watch,” she continued. “There was all the time a lot of rocks in play. The beginning of the game was really tough.”