ParalympicsGB Sochi 2014 Curling Latest
Bronze Medal Game: Great Britain 7, China 3
Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers claim Bronze at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games after beating China with a score of 7-3 in the Bronze Medal Game.
In the bronze medal game between Great Britain and China, China took early advantage, scoring one point in the first end before stealing two points in the second end after Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson was heavy with her final draw.
This was to be China’s last points in the game as Great Britain began their comeback, taking two points in the third end before stealing two points of their own in the next end to go into the fourth end break 4-3 ahead.
With the game still tight, Great Britain gained a crucial advantage in the fifth end when skip Aileen Neilson played a raise tap back into the four foot ring. Chinese skip Haitao Wang then missed his attempted take-out with his last stone to give up a steal of one point and leave the score at 5-3.
Great Britain then went on to steal single points in the next two ends before China finally conceded after seven ends of play, with the final score 7-3.
The bronze medal winning team for Great Britain today included skip Aileen Neilson, third Gregor Ewan, second Jim Gault, lead Angie Malone and they were supported by alternate Bob McPherson, who played several games throughout the week as well, and coach Tony Zummack.
After receiving their medals, Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson said: “There are not many times I’m speechless, but I am speechless right now. This (her medal) isn’t just for the four players that were on the ice. There are so many people who have contributed to what is hanging around our necks. I just have to say thank you to each and every one of them.”
On winning a medal, Neilson reflected: “I always said that the team that would be the most consistent over the week would be the one that would go home with a medal. I’m going to be proved otherwise. We weren’t the most consistent team but we got enough wins to get us to the play-offs and stuck to our plan and team dynamics. It’s maybe not the colour we set out to win, but to have a medal is just amazing!”
Photo: WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Semi-Final: Great Britain 4, Russia 13
History was made on more than one occasion this morning at the semi-finals of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition, as both Russia and Canada qualified for the gold medal game.
As a result of their victories, Russia, playing in their first Paralympic Winter Games, have guaranteed themselves a medal for the first time in their country’s history in this competition.
Canada meanwhile qualify for their third consecutive gold medal game since the introduction of wheelchair curling to the Paralympic programme back in 2006.
While the two winners, Russia and Canada, will meet in the gold medal game, the two semi-final losers, China and Great Britain, will play for the bronze medals, both games at 15:30 (MSK) on Saturday afternoon.
In the 1v4 game, Russia raced to a 4-0 lead after two ends, thanks to a steal of three points in the second end when Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson didn’t quite get her final raise attempt right with her last stone.
Neilson, the only female skip in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition, made amends in the next end as good set up play left her with a hit to score three points to cut the scoreline to 4-3, still in Russia’s favour.
The turning point came in the fourth end however. With his first stone, Russia skip Andrey Smirnov played a take-out to move a British stone out of the house through several stones.
After that, British skip Aileen Neilson missed a draw with her final stone and although Russia could have taken eight points, the Russian skip wrecked on a guard with his final stone.
This play resulted in a Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling record as Russia took seven points and an 11-3 lead, the highest number of points ever taken in one end.
Great Britain played on for another three ends before they finally conceded defeat in the eighth end with the final score 13-4.
As a result, Russia, the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Champions, will play in their first Paralympic Winter Games gold medal game.
Afterwards, Russia skip Andrey Smirnov reflected on that big score in the fourth end. He said: “It’s very rare but sometimes it happens. It has not happened to us before but our competitor made mistakes. They didn’t choose the right strategy. We collected our stones in the house, so in the end we won those (points).”
Looking towards the gold medal game he continued: “For all of us, it’s a big game. It was a dream and now the dream comes true. We want very much to beat Canada in the final.”
Report source: WCF
Other results: Semi-Final: CAN 5-CHN 4
Source Sochi 2014
Photo: WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 12: Great Britain 3, China 6
Despite a 6-3 loss to China, Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers secured their place in Saturday’s semi-finals thanks to a Russian victory over Slovakia in this afternoon’s final round robin session.
China and Great Britain joined Russia and Canada in qualifying for the semi-finals following the final day of round-robin play in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition being played in the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia.
The semi-finals were decided following this afternoon’s twelfth session of round-robin play, the two most significant results being Russia’s win against Slovakia and China’s victory over Great Britain.
Those results guaranteed the top four teams in the standings were Russia in first position; Canada second; China in third and Great Britain fourth.
China, skipped by Haitao Wang, created their own history today as they became the first Chinese team to reach the semi-finals of the Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition, having only made their debut in the competition this year.
Their game against Great Britain was tight until Great Britain missed two take-out shots in the fourth end to give China skip Haitao Wang the opportunity to draw into an open house to score three points and take a 5-1 lead.
China then stole another point in the fifth end and although Great Britain picked up two points in the sixth and seventh ends, they conceded after seven ends of play with the final score 6-3.
Afterwards, China skip Haitao Wang looked towards the semi-finals. He said: “We are much more excited now. Not as nervous, but excited. We were more nervous today than we were yesterday, but we are excited now because we are in the semi-finals.”
On reaching the semi-finals, Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson said: “It’s really exciting. When we started the round-robin, our aim was to get through to the play-offs and we’ve managed to win enough games to do that, so we are absolutely delighted.”
She continued: “I think when we came into this competition I always said it would be the team that was the most consistent throughout and I think we haven’t been as consistent as we would like to be.”
Russia guaranteed China and Great Britain’s place in the semi-finals by defeating Slovakia, who were still chasing a semi-final spot of their own.
The key turning point came in the seventh end when Russia skip Andrey Smirnov made a draw into the house to count three points and take a one point lead going into the final end.
Russia then went on to steal two points in the eighth end when Slovakia skip Radoslav Duris clipped a guard as he drew into the house, which meant that the final score was 7-4 to Russia.
Other results: SVK 4-RUS 7, KOR 3-SWE 13, FIN 12-CAN 1.
Photo: WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 11: Great Britain 8, USA 7
After a difficult few days in the Ice Cube Curling Centre, the GB wheelchair curlers demonstrated ice-cool focus to come back from a four point deficit to win their opening match this morning (Wednesday March 12) 8-7.
In anticipation of a close game, the ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Curling team decided to shake up their line-up before their morning match against the USA got underway. Alternate Angie Malone took up the role of lead, while Gregor Ewan played second, Jim Gault played third and skip Aileen Neilson retained her position.
USA took an immediate lead in end 1, making use of the hammer to score two points, and then played a clever second end to force GB to concede a third point against the hammer, to leave the scoreboard reading 3-0 to the USA.
In a tight third end, GB secured their first point of the match with an intelligent last stone which removed the American stone from the house and meant Neilson’s team took one point. The fourth end went to the USA by two points to take the score to 5-1.
A tactical sixth end saw the USA score a single point to take their lead out to 6-2.
But in a fantastic seventh end, the GB team played outstandingly well to finish with five stones in the house and move into the lead for the first time in the match with a score of 7-6.
In a nail-biting eighth end, GB found themselves in a strong position with a stone right in the heart of the target guarded by several USA and GB stones. But the USA placed a carefully-positioned hammer into the house to knock out GB’s stone and take the match to a deciding ninth end.
In the most tense end of a very nail-biting match, each stone was watched with eager anticipation by British supporters. GB got a stone in the house early on and then defended strongly against some highly tactical play by their opponents. GB had the crucial hammer, though, and when the final US stone missed, the American team conceded the match to leave GB victorious.
Of her first full game on the ice, Malone said: “When we go out there, we’re very very focussed, we were feeling confident going out there. I’m always prepared and ready. With the training that I’ve gone through over the past three years I’m prepared, I’m ready, I’ve been training every night here at the Ice Cube and I’m ready to go back on the ice now.”
Gault said: “When cases come out like that you’ve got to act professional and do your thing. They had an excellent start, but we were always confident we were going to give them a good game, even at 6-2 down we said we’re going to have to switch this and switch play. We’re a great team, the team dynamics are second to none and it’s unbelievable, it just shows the fighting spirit we’ve got. We may be down but we’re never beaten.”
Neilson added: “The team were such a fantastic support because I didn’t play my best in that game, but the other guys made the shots that they had to make and I’m just delighted to come out with a win.”
This morning’s results mean that GB need to win or see Slovakia lose to Russia this afternoon to guarantee a semi-final place.
Other results: FIN 6-KOR 7, SVK 0-CAN 16, SWE 11-NOR 1
Photo: WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 10: Great Britain – Bye
Other results: SWE 3-USA 8, CHN 8-FIN 2, NOR 5-RUS 6
Source Sochi 2014
Round Robin Session 9: Russia 11, Great Britain 2
At the Ice Cube Curling Centre, ParalympicsGB faced tough competition in their morning match from a Russian side who were riding high a wave of confidence. Bolstered by vocal support from the home crowd, the Russian team have performed well on their Paralympic debut and have assumed a comfortable position at the top of the standings alongside reigning Paralympic Champions Canada.
After a blank end started proceedings, Russia opened the scoring in end 2 to create a two point lead, which they further extended in end 3 as the GB hammer failed to clear the house. A nice draw from Neilson’s final stone put GB on the scoreboard in end 4, with Russia leading 4-1 at the halfway stage.
Smirnov, the Russian skip, played a difficult take-out on the British stone in end 5 to score two points and assume a 6-1 lead. GB claimed a point back in end 6 but it wasn’t enough to stop the Russians, who responded with a defiant 5-0 score in end 7 to conclude the game 11-2.
“I know we’ve not been as consistent as we would like to be, so that’s what we have to focus on. We have to come out tomorrow and we have to put on our best performance if we want to reach the play-offs, it’s as simple as that.”
The ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Curlers have a bye this afternoon but will be back on the ice tomorrow morning. In their first game of the day they take on the USA (09:30 local time) (05:30 UK time) before facing China in the afternoon (15:30 local time) (11:30 UK time) . As they prepare for the final matches of the round robin, the ParalympicsGB wheelchair curlers will be looking to secure their passage through to the next stage of the competition, with both of their opponents tied below them in the standings and also in contention to make the play-offs.
Other Results: Nor 4-SVK 11, CAN 10-KOR 4, USA 10-CHN 2,
Photo: © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 8: Great Britain 7, Norway 3
In the Wheelchair Curling down at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, ParalympicsGB bounced back from a morning 13-4 defeat to beat Norway 7-3.
The Norwegian team has had a good start to their Games, forcing Paralympic Champions Canada to a narrow defeat on day three, but the British athletes maintained their calm composure to secure a welcome win for their confidence.
GB stole a point to open the scoring in end 1 of the afternoon session as Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen missed the hammer. The margins in the next end were tight but Norway scored to pull level, with GB responding in end 3 to pull the lead back to 2-1 in their favour. Stealing another point from the hammer in both ends 4 and 5, GB extended their lead to 4-1 as the match passed the half-way stage.
With the advantage of the hammer, Norway clawed back two points in end 6, leaving the game on a knife-edge at 4-3. Neilson rose to the occasion in the next end however, taking out the Norwegian stone to score three points and give GB a 7-3 lead going into the final phase of play, which they held to the finish.
Coach Tony Zummack was proud of his players, saying:
“It was definitely a good day to bounce back and that’s one of the things we talked about over the lunch break. If we weren’t going to get a win this afternoon we wanted to put in a really strong, gutsy performance, to dig down and show ourselves that we weren’t a poor team after this morning, we had to do something a little bit different than that. We wanted to ensure we gave a strong performance on the ice. We did that and the bonus was getting the win so I’m really proud of the guys but we still know we’ve got some work to do tomorrow and the next day.
“It’s a war of attrition, it’s a long week and you’ve got nine round robin games and we’d like to win all nine games in six ends with outrageous scores but that’s generally not the world of sport. We’ve done a lot of work already, we need to do a little bit more, we just need to pick up a couple more wins out of the next three games and I think we’re absolutely capable of doing that.”
Neilson said: “After our game this morning we had to re-group and focus and I think this proves how strong our dynamics are on and off the ice.”
Other results: USA 7-FIN 6, CHN 5-CAN 8, SWE 9-SVK 3
Photos: © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 7: Great Britain 4, Finland 13.
In the morning session of the Wheelchair Curling down at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, ParalympicsGB faced a tough challenge from their Finnish rivals, suffering a 13-4 defeat in the fifth match of the round robin.
It was a shaky start for GB, as Finland took advantage of the hammer to take the first point in end 1. They went on to steal four points from GB in end 2, creating a huge 5-0 lead for Finland at the start of the game.
Neilson got GB on the scoreboard in the 3rd end as her penultimate stone landed on target. But Finland took advantage of having the hammer in end 4 and scored another three points.
At the half-way stage skip Aileen Neilson was replaced by alternate Angie Malone, who, now competing at her third Games, is the most experienced athlete on the team. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to revive the team’s fortunes as Finland comfortably took end 5 with a score of 5-0.
End 6 went in GB’s favour as they redeemed three points, but Finland had overall control of the game and after a blank end they forced GB to concede end 8, winning the match in decisive fashion with a score of 14-3.
Neilson said: “I think they were keen to get a win on the board and the way they played, they deserved that win. If we don’t bring our A game against a team that is playing like that then that’s going to be the result. So we have to make sure that this afternoon we come out and play the way that we know we’re able to play in order to get another win against Norway.”
Gault said: “We tried to keep ourselves up, but they played an excellent game of curling. We’re here to do our job and hopefully we can do it right and keep going, keep the team dynamics as they are. We’ve only lost two games, we’re well in this.”
Explaining the decision to bring alternate Angie Malone onto the ice to replace her at the end of end 4, Neilson said: “That comes from the coaches bench. We realised we had to do something to change it up, mix it up, to get a different dynamic and a different rhythm there. It’s all performance related, so it’s absolutely nothing personal. It’s just about trying to get some points on the board and get the best four players out there at that point in time.”
Other results: RUS 7-SWE 4, KOR 7-SVK 4.
Photos: © WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 6: Slovakia 2, Great Britain 12.
The ParalympicsGB wheelchair curlers made light work of the Slovakian opposition in their fourth match of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, forcing a previously unbeaten team to a heavy 12-2 defeat.
Slovakia, who sit below Great Britain in the world rankings, had a fantastic start to the round robin in Sochi, beating experienced teams from China, Finland and the USA to position themselves alongside double Paralympic and World Champions Canada at the top of the standings.
Bolstered by two wins yesterday against Sweden and Korea, GB looked relaxed and confident heading onto the ice, clapping and singing along as the traditional pipers and drummers signalled the start of play.
GB chose to deliver the first stone and the first end was dominated with take-outs. With the advantage of the hammer, Slovakia made a positive start to score two points and take an early lead. GB responded by landing two stones in the house in the 2nd end to draw the game level.
The two teams continued to spar. In end 3, Slovakia used the hammer to take-out a GB stone which had landed neatly on the button, but with one stone left on the house GB edged ahead by one point. The positive run continued in end 4 and GB assumed a three point lead by the half-way stage.
In end 5, GB stole another point without the hammer to their advantage, as Neilson delivered her final stones with accuracy. Her poise contrasted to the Slovakian’s performance, which started to dip as GB applied the pressure.
Under Neilson’s leadership the GB curlers dominated end 6. They delivered their stones with precision, stealing 4 points against the hammer and further extending their lead with a score of 10-2. Another two points in end 7 closed the game and confirmed victory for ParalympicsGB.
Neilson, who delivered 93% accuracy in the game, said: “They’ve obviously been playing well but we had a lot of confidence from yesterday, so we came from that and started really strong and continued that throughout the whole game. In the other games we have maybe scored first, but it’s about being patient and as long as we can score in the next end, that’s always our goal.
“In our next games with Finland and Norway we’ll take a lot of confidence from today. We’ll have a good night’s rest and get up in the morning in a really good positive frame of mind and look forward to it.”
With Canada suffering a narrow defeat to Norway this afternoon, no team remains unbeaten in the round robin with GB among the nations aiming to secure qualification through to the next stage of competition.
Other results: KOR 2-CHN 11, CAN 6-NOR 8, RUS 6, USA 5.
Photos: © WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 5: Great Britain – Bye
Results: KOR 5-RUS 7, FIN 6-NOR 8, USA 2-CAN 7, CHN 8-SWE 4.
The GB Wheelchair Curling team is back in action against Slovakia at 15:30 local time.
Round Robin Session 4: Great Britain 8, Korea 4.
ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Curling put in their second winning performance of the day at Sochi 2014, battling their way past 2010 Paralympic silver medallists Korea to secure a well-deserved 8-4 victory.
Following a tight match against double Paralympic bronze medallists Sweden, ParalympicsGB held their nerve and used all their tactical intelligence to hold off an experienced Korean side.
In the first end, the ParalympicsGB team seized the initiative and quickly took a one point lead. GB also dominated in the second and third ends, while Korea had the hammer but failed to capitalise on the advantage.
The GB team defended strongly during the first part of the fourth end but, despite at one stage having two GB stones in the target, they couldn’t hold on and Korea went on the offensive, scoring two points to bring the score to 3-2.
Korea then drew level by scoring a third point in the fifth end, and another point on the scoreboard in the sixth meant Korea took the lead in the match.
The penultimate GB stone proved crucial in the seventh end as skip Aileen Neilson took out a carefully lined-up Korean stone past several British stones to put the ParalympicsGB team into a fantastic scoring position, scoring five points and giving ParalympicsGB a commanding 8-4 lead. As a result, the Korean team were forced to concede the eighth end.
Skip Aileen Neilson said: “It’s fantastic, that was really what we aimed to do today and we’ve managed to achieve that, so we’re really delighted and that’s going to give us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.
“We started off well, we put pressure on the opposition and managed to steal. They had a good fight back, but we were patient and got our break in the seventh end and managed to keep it nice and clean in the eighth and run them out of stones.
“The guys are a great support, we all try and support each other no matter whether we win, whether we lose, good shot bad shot and I think that’s quite obvious to everyone that’s watching.”
Bob McPherson was also delighted with the win, saying: “It was really really good. To get two wins out there today is massive. We got off to a really good start, we were a wee bit rusty there in the middle but getting that result was a big bonus for us. I want to say thanks for the support back home, it’s been absolutely fabulous.”
Other results: CAN 7-SWE 4, FIN 6-SVK 9.
Tomorrow afternoon the GB Wheelchair Curling team is back in action against Slovakia at 15:30 local time.
Photos: © WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 3: Sweden 4, Great Britain 6
The ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Curling team secured their first win of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in the first match of the day (Sunday March 9), in a tense game which went right down to the final stone.
The GB team faced a tough morning match against an experienced Sweden side, who are double Paralympic bronze medallists and 2013 World Championship silver medallists.
ParalympicsGB started positively, taking the first end by one point and defended well in the second, at the conclusion of which Sweden made a tactical decision to blank the end and keep the ‘hammer’, or final stone for them, for the next end.
Again in the third end ParalympicsGB defended strongly, ensuring Sweden could only level the match 1-1 and in the fourth GB re-took the lead 2-1.
In the fifth end the Swedes took the advantage to take three points and lead the scoring at 2-4. The GB curlers responded positively in the sixth, as skip Aileen Neilson cast the final stone to claim two points for ParalympicsGB and level the score once more.
In the penultimate end, GB edged slightly closer to the button with their last stone to claim one point, edging into the lead with the score at 5-4 in their favour.
With little separating the teams, end 8 was tense for the British supporters gathered in the Ice Cube Curling Centre as the Swedish team had possession of the hammer. After Sweden confidently placed two stones in the house, GB took the opportunity of a time out to discuss their tactics. With her final stone, Neilson (left) made a Draw against the two Swedish stones to force a steal in the last end. Jalle Jungnell, the Swedish skip, missed the Takeout on his last stone, securing victory to the GB curlers.
After the match, Neilson said: “Throughout the game it wasn’t my best performance and I knew at some point I had to make a shot. I’m just delighted that with the last shot I put it in a place where Jalle (Swedish skip) had to go for it. He was put under pressure and the result went in our favour which is a good feeling for us.
“I was very pleased with the way we started but again we just had to dig deep. Half way through we were pretty even, and then when we had lost three it was very much about not panicking and just staying focussed.”
Other results: USA 8-NOR 5, CHN 3-SVK 6, FIN 4- RUS 7.
Photos: © WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik 2014
Round Robin Session 2: Great Britain – Bye.
Results: NOR 3-CHN 9, SWE 7-FIN 6, USA 5-KOR 9, CAN 5-RUS 4.
Round Robin Session 1: Canada 6, Great Britain 3
In a busy first morning for ParalympicsGB, the Ice Cube Curling Centre in the Coastal Cluster saw the first sporting action of the day as the GB team took on reigning World Champions Canada.
Making her second Games’ appearance and as the only female skip in competition, Aileen Neilson led her team of Gregor Ewan, Bob McPherson, Jim Gault and Angie Malone out onto the ice against Canada. The Canadian team have proved dominant in the sport, claiming every gold medal since Wheelchair Curling was introduced to the Paralympic programme in 2006.
It was a highly tactical and closely fought match, with GB taking points in the first two ends before Canada levelled the Game in the third. GB took another point in the fourth, but Canada called on all their experience to pull away, taking points in each of the last four ends to win the match 6-3.
Neilson said: “We were really confident going into the game and really pleased with how the game started. We had a few opportunities, some of which we managed to take. Unfortunately, the one that we had in the sixth was the one we had to take but that we didn’t, so we have to make sure that in our next game these are the opportunities we take.
“Canada had the opportunities and some they took and some they didn’t either, but we just have to focus on ourselves and not worry about the opposition. We’re feeling confident about the games tomorrow, we’ve played Sweden a lot and if we can come out the way we did this morning, very focused, very confident, then I’m sure we can have the same good start.
“The atmosphere was electric, the crowd were fantastic and we used that to our advantage. We worked really well on the ice. For a few of the guys, it’s their first games at a Paralympics and I think that they put in an awesome display out there, very supportive of me and great team dynamics.”
McPherson said of his Paralympic debut: “It was a whirlwind, I really enjoyed it. I’m keen to get back out on the ice now. That was always going to be a hard game and we’ll see how we can go from here.”
Other Round Robin 1 Results: RUS 5 – CHN 4, KOR 0 – NOR 10, SVK 6, USA 4.
Photos: © WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik 2014