China win again to maintain their place at the top of the Paralympic rankings

  • China top the rankings Photo © WCF / Céline Stucki

China maintained their position at the top of the rankings with a strong 9-2 win over Slovakia in day four’s morning session of play at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 being held in the Gangneung Curling Centre.

China opened the game with a steal of two points in the first end, when Slovakia fourth player, Dusan Pitonak was unable to remove the second Chinese counter with his final stone. China then extended their lead with a score of two points in the third end, then stole a single point in the fourth end for a 5-1 lead at the break.

A score of a single point in the sixth end, followed by a steal of three points in the seventh end after Pitonak wrecked on a high guard with his final shot was enough to give China the 9-2 win, their seventh of the competition so far.

Great Britain faced Germany with both sides coming into the game on the same win-loss record. Britain claimed the 8-3 win to move ahead of Germany in the rankings to put themselves in prime position for a play-off place.

With the scores level at 3-3 after five ends, Great Britain took the lead with a score of three points in the sixth end when skip, Aileen Neilson, drew her final stone into the eight-foot. Great Britain then stole two points in the seventh end after which point Germany conceded the game.

Switzerland picked up their fourth win of the competition when they beat United States 7-4. With the game tied at 4-4 after six ends of play, Switzerland scored a single point in the seventh end to set up a tense eighth end.

In that eighth end with United States sitting one shot stone, and having another stone on the edge of the eight-foot almost in scoring position, Switzerland skip, Felix Wagner, played a double-takeout with his final shot, removing both stones, while keeping his shooter in play and leaving United States skip, Kirk Black with a difficult shot in order to score the one point needed to take the game to an extra-end. Black was unable to find a way into the house, giving Switzerland the steal of two points and the 7-4 win.

In the session’s final game Finland held off a late fightback from Sweden to win 6-5. Finland lead 5-1 at the fourth end break, but a Swedish score of two points in the fifth end, followed by a single point steal in the sixth end narrowed the score to 5-4.

In the eighth end Sweden held last stone advantage, and a precise freeze from Finish skip, Sari Karjalainen, with her final shot, left Sweden sitting only a single shot stone, Swedish skip Viljo Pettersson Dahl was then heavy with his final draw, only scoring one point and giving Finland the win.

They said it

Claudia Huettenmoser; third, Switzerland (after 7-4 win over USA): "I feel great. If we win our next three games, we are in the game. But only one stone at a time. In this game we made some mistakes and we had some bad stones, but I told the team that 'we are great'. Our last stone of the game, Felix's double-takeout was absolutely great."

Sari Karjalainen, skip, Finland (after 6-5 win over Sweden): "My heart is still pounding. The last stone was very hard to throw, because I knew that it needed to be perfectly positioned, behind the guards. In the eighth end the ice was already slow, that's why we had so many guards in play. It's always lovely to play Sweden."

Session 12 results: Finland 6-5 Sweden; Germany 3-8 Great Britain; Slovakia 2-9 China; Switzerland 7-4 United States.

Standings after session 12 (win-loss):

China 7-1
Korea 6-1
Canada 5-2
Great Britain 5-3
Neutral Paralympic Athletes 4-3
Germany 4-4
Switzerland 4-4
Norway 3-4
Slovakia 3-5
Finland 2-6
Sweden 2-6
United States 1-7

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