Friday, November 12, 2010

China and Russia qualify for 2011 Worlds

China and Russia qualified for the 2011 World Championships to be held next February in Prague, by emerging from two rounds of Page playoff games today.

Team China 3rd - Wei Liu

[Photo: Finnish Curling Association/Katja Kiiskinen]

China had topped the table after round robin play, and faced Italy, who also had a 7-1 record, in the 1v2 game. It was quickly decided. Italy stole 1 in the first and then gave up a 7 in the 2nd, and could never recover, losing 10-4.

CHN - China *0701101x10
ITA - Italy

China therefore qualified, while Japan waited to play the winner of the 2v3 game for the second qualifying place.

Russia, who had lost their chance to play in the 1v2 game yesterday when they were beaten by Japan, faced japan again in the 3v4. This time they asserted themselves early, stealing a single in the 3rd and a big 4 in the fourth to lead 6-1 at the break. Though Japan came back with a 4 of their own, they were always struggling to catch up though Russia needed their skip's last rock draw for a single point with hammer, to seal the 9-6 win.

RUS - Russia *01140201- 9
JPN - Japan
10001040 -6

That set up a Russia. Italy match for the second qualifying place. They had met in the first round robin draw, a game that produced the highest points total of the tournament when Italy took two in the final end to win 11-10.

Italy's Edigio Marchese - who stepped up to replace absent skip Andrea Tabanelli

[Photo: Finnish Curling Association/Katja Kiiskinen]

Today's game was much tighter. Russia started with hammer, took a single, then stole a point and added to their lead by scoring 2 for a 4-1 lead at the break. Italy scored the next three points, including steals of one in the 7th and 8th to force an extra, and were in with a chance with their last stone. Unfortunately for Italy, substitute skip Edigio Marchese's final rock was heavy, and Russia took two for a 6-4 win.

RUS - Russia *1102000 02 -6
ITA - Italy
0010101 10 -4

Team Russia
 [Photo: Linda Kirton]

Team Italy
Emanuale Spelorzi, Egidio Marchese, Gabriele Dallapiccola, Angela Menardi
 [Photo: Linda Kirton]

China and Russia join hosts Czech Republic, Canada, Sweden, Germany, USA, Scotland, Norway, and Korea at the 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Prague, February 21-March 3.

The 2011 Worlds will be the first opportunity for countries to register points towards qualification for the 2014 Paralympics in Russia. The top nine point scorers over the next three World Championships, will join hosts Russia in Sochi, 2014. This makes it additionally heartbreaking for Italy today, losing such a tight game to a country that does not need to qualify in 2014. Of course Russia, relative newcomers to the sport, will need all the top level competition it can gain if they hope to do well on home ice.

France, who attended the Qualifying tournament but were not allowed to compete because of a dispute between the French Curling Association and their governing body the French Federation of Ice Sports, nevertheless were able to play their games as friendlies.

Any country affiliated to the World Curling Federation was eligible to play in this Qualifying Tournament, so France did not take a place that would otherwise have gone to another country.

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