Stirling 2019: Norway and China in pole position

Two nations remain unbeaten after two days of the Worlds 05 Mar 2019
Chinese male wheelchair curler reacts as he releases his stone

Haitao Wang helps China remain unbeaten after two days in Stirling

ⒸRichrd Gray
By Amp Media | For the IPC

Title-holders Norway surged to the top of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship rankings on Monday (4 March) after beating perennial rivals Russia* in a rematch of the 2017 final.

Norway took the game 7-2, as the defending champions won the first end by three points to put the pressure on their opponents.

Russia were unable to find the form of the first day’s competition in Stirling, Great Britain. They won just two ends, each by a single point.

Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen said his team were able to relax and control each end.

“Now we just have to keep our focus so that we don’t take a dip in our next few games,” he added.

In the evening session, Norway showed their focus was holding with a solid victory over Canada.

The Norwegians opened again with a three-point end. Canada took the second with two points, but after that were unable to get back on the scoreboard and Norway won the match 9-2.

China join Norway

PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games champions China had just one match on Monday, playing Switzerland. In a low-scoring game China earned one point in the second, fourth and sixth ends.

Switzerland started the scoring with a point in the first end but were unable to win another until the seventh. China won 3-2 to maintain their perfect winning record, joining Norway on the top of the standings.

The competition’s first extra-end game came on Monday afternoon as Estonia played Slovakia. Estonia were leading 6-5 after the seventh end, but Slovakia stole a point in the eighth to force the extra end.

Estonia’s last stone hit a well-placed guard and Slovakia were able to take the point and the game, winning 7-6.

Slovakia skip Radoslav Duris said: “I’m very happy. We came back in those last three ends and were focused on every stone. I like the pressure, it’s a fun game.”

In the evening, Slovakia found themselves in another extra-end match, this time against South Korea who had defeated Canada 5-4 in the morning.

The match was even throughout. Slovakia started the scoring with a point in the first end but once again went into the final end behind. They succeeded in earning two points to take the game into the extra end.

This time, however, the extra end went in their opponents’ favour and South Korea emerged with an 8-7 victory after capitalising on their last-stone advantage.

Up-and-down thriller

Germany produced a fantastic eighth end in their game against hosts Scotland to take their evening match to an extra end. In an up-and-down match, Scotland moved ahead 7-4 at the end of the seventh before Germany capitalised on Scottish errors to level the match.

In the extra end Scotland took two points to earn their first win of the championship, 9-7.

Scotland were previously beaten by World Championship debutants Latvia, who continued a strong start to the competition. Latvia scored two points in the second end, then stole three points in the third end, two points in the fourth end and a single point in the fifth end for an 8-2 lead.

Despite scoring five points in the last three ends, Scotland had left it too late and lost the match 7-8.

The USA recorded one win and one loss on Monday. They stole three points in the first two ends against Germany in the morning to win the match 8-3, but later on found Switzerland’s consistency too much and were defeated 3-7.

At the end of the second day of competition, only China and Norway are unbeaten, while Canada and Estonia are yet to win a match. The round-robin stage continues on Tuesday (5 March).

*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.