The Official World Curling Federation
Olympic Qualification Event Website
10th - 15th December 2013

OQE 2013: Day 1 Early Round-up

Korea skip, Soo-Hyuk Kim, led his team to victory over Asian rivals Japan Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Round-robin play got underway on Tuesday afternoon in the World Curling Federation's inaugural Olympic Qualification Event in Fuessen, Germany, as eight men’s and seven women’s teams battle for the last two men’s and two women’s places at the curling competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The men were first into action, with Korea and Japan going head to head in an all Asian-clash.

In this game, Korea made the first break-through in the fourth end, scoring three points for a 4-2 lead when skip Soo-hyuk Kim drew his final stone into the house.

Japan were never able to recover from that and when Korea followed up a score of two points in the seventh end with a steal of two more points in the eighth end, Japan conceded, with the score at 9-3 to Korea.

After the game, skip Kim said: “My team were really, really good this afternoon but this is just the first game - we have another six games to go so we will fight to win each one as we really hope we can go to the Olympic Games."

New Zealand faced Finland and, after getting into some difficulties in the tenth end, New Zealand skip Peter de Boer nudged up one of their stones onto a Finnish stone that was counting, placing his stone just inside it to score one point for a 6-4 victory.

de Boer was pleased with his opening win, saying: "We played a good game there, certainly for the first six or seven ends," but he also conceded: "We got ourselves into a bit of a mess in the last end but fortunately he left me a road to the button."

Speaking about the importance of the competition de Boer added: "It's seven or eight finals, every single game. You've just got to stay calm...seven more finals to go."

In the game between the Czech Republic and the USA, USA skip John Shuster took the lead at 5-4 in the fourth end, scoring three points when he drew his final stone into the house.

However, the USA could not hang on to that lead and when Shuster's attempted angle raise shot in the tenth end rolled just too far, the Czechs stole a single point to seal a 9-7 victory.

Czech skip Jiri Snitil recently recovered from an illness that saw him sit out a couple of games in the recent Le Gruyere European Curling Championships. After this game he said: "That was a good start. We got a little nervous at the beginning, it was a little wild. I stole three, gave up three back and then we settled down and read the ice better than in the beginning."

Meanwhile defeated USA skip Shuster said: "We played some really good ends and we played some really bad ones. Unfortunately, today, the really bad ones caught up with us."

The fourth game of the session saw France face Germany. In the fifth end, France's fourth player Tony Angiboust hit with his last stone to score three points and take a 4-2 lead. In the eighth end, Angiboust hit again, this time scoring four points. This gave France an 8-3 lead and Germany then gave up what had become a lost cause, shaking hands to concede defeat after eight ends of play.

Afterwards French skip Thomas Dufour said: "It was really important to get that win. It was good to win that one. This tournament is different from any other tournament, but if you think about that, you're done. We're just thinking about mastering the ice, mastering what we can do, and as you can see - it works."

RESULTS

Men Session 1: Korea 9, Japan 3; New Zealand 6, Finland 4; USA 7, Czech Republic 9; Germany 3, France 8.

Men’s Standings after session 1:
1. Czech Republic 1-0
1. France 1-0
1. Korea 1-0
1. New Zealand 1-0
5. Finland 0-1
5. Germany 0-1
5. Japan 0-1
5. USA 0-1

Extensive televised coverage of the Olympic Qualification 2013 from Fuessen can be seen by viewers in Japan on NHK’s channel and digital media platforms. All Chinese games will be televised by China’s CCTV sport. Live coverage will also be available via the internet on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV

Event website: www.sochi2014.curlingevents.com/oqe for further information, schedules of play, full team line ups and results and more information about the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Event Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldcurlingfederation
Twitter Hashtags: #oqe2013 #curling

The eight men's and women's nations already qualified for Sochi 2014 are (in ranking order): www.sochi2014.curlingevents.com/olympics/olympic-qualification

Men: Canada, Sweden, Great Britain (Scotland's world championship points are used for qualification purposes), Norway, Denmark, China, Switzerland, and Russia (as host).

Women: Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain (Scotland's world championship points are used for qualification purposes), Canada, USA, Denmark, Korea and Russia (as host).

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