Latvia record historic first win in World Wheelchair Championship debut

  • Latvia record debut win © WCF / Richard Gray

With their final stone Latvia secured their first win on the world stage when they defeated Canada 7-6 in Sunday’s opening session of World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 in Stirling, Scotland.

The championship’s first session also saw wins for United States, Russia and China.

Latvia opened the scoring in the first end, forcing a steal of three points after Canadian skip, Mark Ideson, when facing three Latvian stones was just unable to get into shot position.

Latvia extended their lead with a steal of one point in the fifth end to make the score 5-1. Canada levelled the game in the very next end with a score of four points, after Ideson played a delicate draw to the edge of the four-foot.

Canada took the lead with a steal of one point in the seventh end, before Latvia skip Polina Rozkova engineered a hit-and-stay with the final shot of the game to score two points for the win, 7-6, on their world championship debut.

A delighted Rozkova said, “I don’t understand the feeling yet. Probably I’m happy, yes, I’m happy for sure.” Looking ahead she continued, “I think what helped is that our guys played really good today. That’s the important thing. I think that every game we need to start from the beginning, so it doesn’t matter how many wins or losses we have. It doesn’t matter what team or what situation we face. It’s just about how we perform.”

United States defeated Estonia 7-6 in the session’s other close game.

United States took a 5-2 lead into the fourth end break, but Estonia fought back into the game and in the eighth end, already sitting two shot stones, Estonia fourth player, Andrei Koitmae, was unable to move the United States stone in the house scoring only two points and giving United States the win.

Afterwards, United States skip, Steve Emt said, “Estonia are a great team. They’ve improved so much over the last year and for us to come out here with this squad, with three newbies on the team, with no international experience and getting a ‘W’, I don’t really care if it was close or not, a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ and we’re very happy with that.”

He continued, “Over the last year I’ve grown a lot as a skip with the help from all the coaching and my teammates. I’ve got all the trust in the world in my teammates. I can put the broom down anywhere and call any shot and they’re going to make it, any of the skips here will tell you, that’s a huge tool to have.”

Elsewhere, in the session, China defeated Korea 5-2 after leading 4-1 at the break. In the final game Russia beat Germany 7-3, despite only scoring in two of the ends played - three points in the second end and four points in the fifth end.

Results

Session one: Estonia 6-7 United States; Germany 3-7 Russia; Canada 6-7 Latvia; Korea 2-5 China.

Standings (W-L)

China 1-0
Latvia 1-0
Russia 1-0
United States 1-0
Norway 0-0
Scotland 0-0
Switzerland 0-0
Slovakia 0-0
Canada 0-1
Estonia 0-1
Germany 0-1
Korea 0-1

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