Canada begin Paralympic title defence with shutout win

  • Canada begin title defence with win © WCF / Céline Stucki

Canada began the defence of their Paralympic title with a shutout 8-0 win over Switzerland after six ends of play on the opening day of the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 at the Gangneung Curling Centre.

The opening session of play also saw wins for hosts Korea, Germany and Great Britain.

Canada opened the game with a score of two points in the first end. Then, in the second end, Canadian skip Mark Ideson played a precise hit and roll with his final stone burying it in the four-foot. Swiss skip Felix Wagner was unable to make the difficult draw with his final stone of the second end and gave up a single point steal.

Canada went on to steal single points in the third and fourth ends to take a 5-0 lead into the break. A further steal of two points in the fifth end gave Canada a 7-0 lead, and a final steal of one point in the sixth end was enough for Switzerland to concede with the score 8-0.

Hosts Korea began their competition with a 7-3 win over United States. Korea lead 2-1 at the fourth end break after a tight first half, but the fifth end saw the game change completely.

In that fifth end, Korean fourth player, Jaegoan Cha, with his final stone, hit out the only United States counter to score four points and take a 6-1 lead. Korea then stole a single point in the sixth end before United States responded with a score of two points in the seventh end. A double-takeout by Korean third, Seungwon Jung in the eighth end was enough to force United States to concede the game and give Korea the 7-3 win.

Great Britain defeated current World Champions, Norway 5-2 in a close game where Britain lead 3-1 going into the break. Norway blanked the fifth end and could only score a single point in the sixth end to narrow the deficit. Britain then scored a single point of their own in the seventh end before stealing a single point in the eighth end for the 5-2 win.

In the session's final game Germany defeated the Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA) team 9-4. NPA were ahead 4-3 after six ends, then in the seventh end, NPA skip, Konstantin Kurokhtin, was unable to remove German counting stones with a takeout attempt, leaving German skip, Christiane Putzich with an open draw for three points and the 6-4 lead. A further steal of three points by Germany in the eighth end gave them a 9-4 win.

They said it

Mark Ideson; skip, Canada (after 8-0 win over Switzerland): "It felt great, you know, there's a lot of energy in the building, and you know I was really proud to wear the maple leaf out there. The team played really-really well in front of me, so, we're off to a good start. You know, what? Leading up to the Games we had a feeling that we'll meet some really good teams and we have to take it one rock at a time, so that's what we plan on doing."

Soon Seok Seo; skip Korea (after 7-3 win over United States): "At first, I was really nervous. But then, because the crowd gave us a lot of support, a lot of energy and all the cheering, as the game progressed, I released my nervousness more. To be able to play a good game in front of this crowd was kind of fun. Certainly, the turning point of the game was the fifth end when we were able to score four points. Our intention is to qualify for the semi-finals. That's our expectation, to be able to qualify for the semi-finals."

Session one results: Norway 2-5 Great Britain; Switzerland 0-8 Canada; United States 3-7 Korea; Germany 9-4 Neutral Paralympic Athletes

Standings after session one (win-loss):

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

To follow the build-up to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #Roadto2018 #curling