Pacific-Asia Championships gets underway in Gangneung

  • China defeat hosts Korea in men's opening session © WCF / Tom Rowland

The opening day of the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2018 saw international curling return to the Olympic venue, in Gangneung, Republic of Korea and the men begin their championship in the day’s only session.

In a repeat of last year’s gold medal game, China faced hosts Korea. China blanked the opening end, then in the second end, skip, Qiang Zou, was light with his final stone and gave up a steal of two points.

Zou redeemed himself in the third end. With his first stone, he played a precise raise take-out to sit three shot stones, then when Korea skip, SooHyuk Kim was light with his final stone, Zou calmly drew into the four-foot for a score of four points and the 4-2 lead.

With the game level at 6-6 after eight ends, Zou played a precise tap with his final stone of the ninth end to score two points to take an 8-6 lead. China would then go on to run Korea out of stones in the tenth end for the win.

After their opening win, Zou said, “It was the first game for us and we had some good communication through our sweeping so we made some good shots.” He continued, “the ice is good and the curl is good so we made a lot of big shots today. Everything is good and we can now prepare for the next game.”

Chinese Taipei began their competition with a win against Qatar, 10-3. After trading single points in the first two ends, Chinese Taipei moved ahead in the third end when skip, Randolph Shen, drew to the back of the button for a score of three points and a 4-1 lead. A further score of three points in the fifth end alongside a score of two points in the eighth end gave Chinese Taipei the win.

After the game, Shen said, “A win is good, it’s a long week, so one win doesn’t win the championship. We made some mistakes, we’ll learn from them moving forward and hopefully improve every game. Qatar did wonderful! They actually played very well that game, they were sliding a lot better and their coach is doing a wonderful job with them. They had a lot of fun out there and having some good laughs out there and that’s what this sport’s about.”

Elsewhere in the session Japan faced Australia and in the third end, Japanese skip, Yuta Matsumura draw his final stone onto the button for a score of two points and a 4-1 lead.

Australia responded in the fourth end when facing a Japanese counter, their fourth player, Dean Hewitt played a delicate draw to the button to score a single point and reduce the deficit to 2-4. Japan, looking to improve on last year’s bronze medals went on to win the game, 7-3.

In the final game of the session, Hong Kong began their competition with a 7-4 win over Kazakhstan. Hong Kong scored three points in the fourth end to take a 4-2 lead, then went on to steal single points in the fifth and sixth ends on the way to their win.

The championships continue tomorrow (Sunday 4 November) with the men's second session at 09:00 Korea Standard Time.

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