PyeongChang 2018: China to face Norway in wheelchair curling final

Hosts South Korea suffer extra end heartbreak to face Canada in bronze medal match 16 Mar 2018
By World Curling

Norway were taken all the way to an extra end in their semi-final before they defeated hosts Korea 8-6, to go on to face China in Saturday (17 March) afternoon’s gold medal final. China defeated Canada by a score of 4-3 in the other semi-final at the Gangneung Curling Centre.

Canada and Korea will play for bronze medals on Saturday morning.

Korea began the game with last stone advantage, but Norway were the first team on the scoreboard, with a steal of one point in the first end. Norway followed this up with a score of three points in the third end when skip, Rune Lorentsen, drew to the button with his final stone for the three points and a 4-2 lead. In the fourth end, Korea levelled the score, 4-4, at the break with a hit to score two points.

With last stone advantage to begin the second half, Norway blanked the next two ends, then in the seventh end, Lorensten played a hit-and-stay on a Korean stone at the back of the house to score two points.

In the eighth end, Lorentsen was heavy with his final stone, giving Korean skip Soon Seok Seo a draw to the house for the two points needed to take the game to an extra end.

In that extra end, Norway were sitting two counters, when Seo with his last stone was heavy with the draw, giving Norway the score of two points, without having to throw their last stone, for the 8-6 win and a place in the gold medal final.

Norway skip Rune Lorentsen said: "I don't know what to say, I'm just so happy. I got my Paralympic medal now, so the next game is just a bonus. My thoughts before the extra end were that we need to keep it clean, and I'll make the draw with the last rock if I have to."

“It was a disappointing game, because the opponent made a couple of mistakes and there were opportunities for our team to win," said South Korea coach Beak Jong Chul.

"I'm quite optimistic that we made it to the extra end, I'm quite happy about that. But in the last end we made a couple of mistakes with setting up guards and the guards went off."

In the second semi-final, China defeated Canada 4-3 in a tense game that went all the way to the last stone.

After a blanked first end, the teams traded single points over the next two ends before China scored two points in the fourth end for a 3-1 lead at the break. Canada responded immediately with two points of their own in the fifth end to level the score at 3-3.

China then blanked the sixth and seventh ends to retain the last stone advantage going into the eighth end. In that eighth end, Canadian third, Ina Forrest drew her second stone into the four-foot to sit shot stone. China were unable to remove the counter, then Canadian skip Mark Ideson drew his last stone into the four-foot to sit in second position.

Facing two Canadian counters with his final shot, China skip, Haitao Wang elected to play a difficult tap back of his own stone on the edge of the eight-foot, sending it into scoring position and claiming the 4-3 win and their place in the gold medal final.

“During the game I made some mistakes so I was feeling nervous," said Wang.

"On that last stone Canada had two stones in front so if I make a mistake then Canada will get two points and get into the final. I was so happy to get that point. In training I have tried that shot so much and if I try 10 times then I do it two or three times. I feel so lucky that I got us the point."

“I am so excited to reach the final. This is the first medal for China in the Paralympics so this is history for me.”

Canada skip Mark Ideson said: "I am really proud of the way the team played. I think after the round-robin or even coming into the round-robin, I don't know if anyone would have thought we would be 9 and 2. So I'm really proud that we've put ourselves into a good position to medal."

The bronze medal game will take place tomorrow (Saturday 17 March) morning at 9:35 Korean Standard Time (KST) and will be followed by the gold medal game at 14:35 KST.