China and Russia qualify for Wheelchair Worlds 2011

China and Russia have won the two qualification spots for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2011.

On the final day of play at the World Wheelchair Curling Qualification event at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland, China beat Italy 10-4 to win the first spot. Russia, after beating Japan 9-6, went on the beat Italy 6-4, for the second berth.

The game between Russia and Italy went down to the wire, with Italy tying up the score at 4-4 in the eighth end and forcing an extra end. The last Italian stone was too heavy and went through the house giving Russia two points for a win and a place at the worlds next February in Prague, Czech Republic. “It was a really hard game,” said Russian coach Efim Zhidelev afterwards, “I think Italy played very well. We all made mistakes. I believe the Italians were more concentrated than us but we had to keep going to win.”

Line score:
ITA *-001010110-4

In play earlier in the day the Italians got off to a lucky start in their game against China, stealing one in the first end. But the Chinese came back and scored a whopping 7 in the second end and Egidio Marchese’s team struggled from then on to get back into the game. Chinese Skip Haitao Wang said he and his team were extremely nervous going into the game against the Italians. He said they were a very good team but they were delighted to be heading to the worlds in Prague.

Line score:

In the other playoff game in the morning, Russia beat Japan 9-6. Russia set off and established a clear lead. But Katsuo Ichikawa brought his team right back into the game in the sixth end taking 4 points. The game went down to Russia’s last stone, with Andrey Smirnov drawing for one point and a win.

Line score:

Rankings after round robin & play-offs (Wins-Losses):

1. CHN 8-1 (Qualification for WWhCC 2011)
2. RUS 8-2 (Qualification for WWhCC 2011)
3. ITA 7-3
4. JPN 5-4
5. SUI 4-4
6. SVK 3-5
7. DEN 2-6
8. FIN 2-6
9. LAT 0-8