Paralympic Winter Games
04 - 13 March

Singing coach sees China through to Wheelchair Curling final, Canada take bronze

China to go for their second straight gold Sweden have nothing to lose, already reaching their best finish Canada take consolation bronze against Slovakia 11 Mar 2022
A Chinese wheelchair curler releases a stone
China faced Canada in a repeat of the semi-final from 2018, once again emerging the victors.
ⒸGetty Images
By OIS and World Curling

China are one victory away from winning gold at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games - and the secret to getting the team there might just be their coach’s singing. 

At the National Aquatics Centre on Friday, the defending champions cruised to a 9-5 win over Canada, the only other team to have won gold at the Paralympic Games.

Shortly before the semi-finals began, head coach Yue Qingshuang passionately delivered her rendition of the folk song Tao Ma Gan for her players. It did wonders for a world champion team shouldering the burden of winning on home ice.

“Our coach sings for us quite often," skip Wang Haitao said. "It got us pumped up for the game." 

"Head coach is someone I look up to a lot. She’s my idol, like a goddess to me, so we can’t let her down. We’re familiar with that song. She was also a successful curler herself. Because of her place in our hearts, when she sings for us, it really makes you feel very emotional.”

In the gold-medal game on Saturday, the hosts will meet Sweden, who scored a point in each of the final three ends to beat Slovakia 6-4 in the other semi-final. 

Skip Viljo Pettersson-Dahl expects the Beijing 2022 final to be as keenly contested as the World Championship final just a few months ago. China clinched that title in an extra end. 

“We were really close last time at the worlds," he said. "I think if we can stay focused and make our game, we will have a really good chance. I'm looking forward to meeting China.”

Viljo Pettersson-Dahl is quietly confident ahead of Saturday's final. Ⓒ Getty Images


Slovakia met Canada in Friday evening’s bronze medal game.

Canada took bronze medals at the Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018, while Slovakia finished ninth four years ago.

Canada started the game with a single steal, after Slovakia’s fourth Peter Zatko came up short with his last draw.

In the second end, Canada had another steal when Zatko missed his take-out attempt on a Canadian counter.

Slovakia blanked the third end and carried the hammer over to the fourth. In that fourth end, they scored two to tie the game at 2-2, going into the break.

In the fifth end, Canada’s fourth player Jon Thurston made a precise draw to the four-foot to take a single to the lead the game at 3-2.

In the sixth, Canada stole a single after Zatko’s unsuccessful double take-out attempt.

The North Americans were leading the game by 4-2 going into the seventh end. In that end, Slovakia only scored a single as Zatko came up short with his last draw attempt.

Canada was leading the game and having last-stone advantage, going into the eighth end.

In that end, Slovakia had two stones in the four-foot when Jon Thurston threw his first. He removed both opponent stones and kept his shooter with a perfect double take-out.

At this point, Canada had three stones in the house. Slovakia’s Zatko made a draw to the four-foot with his last, to sit shot stone.

Thurston took that out with his last, and as he kept his shooter, Canada scored four points, won the game by 8-3 and claimed Paralympic bronze medals.

Canada’s Thurston reflected on his feelings after the game, saying, “I’m so excited to win the bronze medal. Obviously, we were hoping for gold, but it was nice to rebound and win the bronze. It’s a good week for us. We had a really good round robin, we stuck with our process and we’re rewarded with a bronze medal.”

After their victory, Canadian skip Mark Ideson said, “I’m just trying to digest it all. You know, it was such an exciting game, and emotional day, up and down. Of course, down first after the semi-final, it was a tough loss. Just regroup and get back and come out with a win was very special. The team played really well, we’re well supported by a great staff. So, I’m really happy right now.”

Canada maintained their 100 per cent Paralympic podium record. Ⓒ Getty Images


Talking about his two Paralympic bronze medals, he said, “Both are equally special. The one in PyeongChang was really special because my family was there and we miss them dearly here. Because they would be celebrating here with us, but I know they’ll be celebrating at home.”

Speaking about their own celebration with the team, he added, “We’ll definitely connect with home and we’ll toast each other maybe with a glass of wine or something like that.”

The bronze medal winning Canadian team are: skip (playing lead stones) Mark Ideson, fourth player Jon Thurston, third Ina Forrest, second Dennis Thiessen; supported by alternate Collinda Joseph and coach Mick Lizmore.