First PyeongChang 2018 win for Neutral Paralympic Athletes

  • Photo © WCF / Céline Stucki

The fourth session of Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 round-robin play at the Gangneung Curling Centre saw Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) pick up their first win of the competition by beating Finland 12-5, while Canada and Korea both won to top the rankings.

NPA opened the scoring of their 12-5 win over Finland with a steal of three points. Finland fought back into the game with a score of one point in the second end, followed by back-to-back two-point steals to take a 5-3 lead into the break.

NPA then took control of the game in the second half, scoring one point in the fifth end, before stealing a further three points in the sixth end.

In the seventh end, Finnish fourth player Markuu Karjalainen was facing three NPA counters and attempted to draw around a wide NPA guard into the house. However, he wrecked on that guard, sending it to the edge of the 12-foot. An umpire's measure confirmed that it had now become a scoring stone as was one other NPA stone on the edge of the house, giving up a steal of five points, after which Norway conceded with the score 12-5 to NPA.

Canada continued their unbeaten run with an 8-4 win over Sweden. Sweden opened the scoring with steals of one point in the first end, then three further points in the second end. Canada levelled the score immediately with four points in the third end when Sweden failed with several takeout attempts to remove Canadian counting stones.

Canada then stole back-to-back single points to take a 6-4 lead after five ends. Sweden, looking for the score of two points to level the game, blanked the next two ends and in the eighth end, with his final stone, Swedish skip Viljo Peterssen Dahl was unable to make the double-takeout he needed, giving up a steal of two points and the 8-4 win to Canada.

Korea also won their third game of the competition when they defeated Slovakia 7-5 in a tight back and forth game. The scores were tied 4-4 at the break, then at 5-5 after seven ends.

In the eighth end, Slovakia held the last stone advantage, but were unable to make it count. With his final shot, Slovakia fourth, Dusan Pitonak, faced a wall of stones and when he tried a risky double-takeout in order to remove the Korean counters he was unable to move them enough, giving up a steal of two points and the 7-5 win to Korea.

In the session's final game, China defeated Norway 10-1 after six ends. China scored two points in the first and third ends, before stealing two points in the fourth, fifth, and sixth ends after which Norway conceded.

They said it

Mark Ideson; skip, Canada (after 8-4 win over Sweden): "It wasn't a great start for me personally, and luckily the team have my back. That's why we're a team out there playing together. So they picked me up until I found my way and we ground out the win, so I'm proud of the team."

Konstantin Kurokhtin, skip, NPA (after 12-5 win over Finland): "The game started with a bit of a trouble. I was a bit nervous, and we had some trouble with the weight. But during the break the coach made a decision to change one player and it improved the game. The new player brought new emotions into the game and with these new emotions we started to play better. We were able to make good shots and after that our mentality raised up."

Session four results: Neutral Paralympic Athletes 12-5 Finland; Norway 1-10 China; Canada 8-4 Sweden; Slovakia 5-7 Korea.

Standings after session four (win-loss):

Canada 3-0
Korea 3-0
China 2-0
Germany 2-0
Great Britain 1-1
Switzerland 1-1
Slovakia 1-1
Neutral Paralympic Athletes 1-2
Finland 0-2
Sweden 0-2
United States 0-2
Norway 0-3

For all the wheelchair curling action from the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #PyeongChang2018 #curling