Saturday 14 November 2015
Korea beat Japan by 11-7 in Saturday (14 November) morning's men's final of the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2015 in the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, Almaty, Kazakhstan – a first title for their country since 2002.
The Korean team – skip Soo Hyuk Kim, third Tae Hwan Kim, second Jong Duk Park, lead player Yoon Ho Nam, supported by alternate Min Hyeon Yoo and coach Se Young Yang – dominated the first-half of the Gold Medal game and scored a decisive four points with a precision multiple take-out in the fifth end for an 8-1 lead at the half-time break.
Japan fought back in the second-half, but a delicate draw onto the button by Soo Hyuk Kim gave Korea one point from the ninth end for an 11-7 lead. After this, Japan ran out of stones in the tenth to give Korea their win. Japan have the consolation of Silver Medals and, like Korea, qualification for the 2016 World Championship, being held in Basel, Switzerland in (2-10) April.
At the same time, China beat New Zealand by 5-4 to take the Bronze Medals. China held a 4-0 lead at the fifth end break, and although New Zealand fought back, they could not close the gap enough. This third place result makes China eligible to play in the 2017 Olympic Qualification Event, when the final two places in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games line-up will be decided.
In the same session, the women played their semi-finals. Japan had a 10-2 win over hosts Kazakhstan while Korea won a tight game against China by 7-6, thanks to single-point steals in the eighth and ninth ends.
By reaching Saturday afternoon's Gold Medal final, Japan and Korea have already qualified for the 2016 Ford World Women's Championship in Swift Current, Canada next (19-27) March. Saturday afternoon, 14.30 (local time), will also see China play Kazakhstan for Bronze Medals.
They Said It:
Soo Hyuk Kim; skip, Korea (after 11-7 win in final over Japan):
"I'm really happy that we're champions. I don't think that was our best game – I think the semi-final was better, but that was good enough to win, thankfully. I know we have a ticket to the World Championship now, but we've been concentrating on this competition. Our overall goal is to win at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, so we’re preparing hard for that."
Ji Sun Kim; skip, Korea (after 7-6 semi-final win over China):
"There was maybe a little pressure for us in that game, but we play against China a lot. I'm delighted that we're now going to the World Championship, it is very important to us, but we are concentrating on these games here and nothing else just now."
Satsuki Fujisawa; skip Japan (after 10-2 semi-final win over Kazakhstan):
"I'm very happy again – we're in the final and we're into the World Championship. It was a good game, but now we need to focus on the next game. I'm sure we can play better in the final."