Marcel Rocque, China''s Canadian coach, with his players after the victory over Russia.
Women's curling: Asia's 'Big Three' in action
12 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: The women’s curling teams of China and Japan took another step on the long road to qualifying for the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament at the Ice Cube Curling Centre on Wednesday – but Korea’s hopes suffered a blow. Asia’s “Big Three” were all in action on Wednesday afternoon. Japan beat Russia – cheered on by a noisy full house of flag-waving fans – 8-4 and China finished strongly to defeat the United States 7-4, but the Koreans went down 7-4 to Sweden.
In the fourth match on the remaining court – or sheet as it is known in curling – Canada beat Great Britain 9-6.
With the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals following a round-robin competition, the standings after session four are: Canada (won 3 lost 0), Switzerland (3-0), China (2-1), Japan (2-1), Sweden (2-1), Russia (2-2), Britain (1-2), Korea (1-2), Denmark (0-3), USA (0-4).
China’s Canadian coach, Marcel Rocque, said a two-point score in the eighth end, moving his team ahead 5-3, was the key to the victory.
“It was a tough battle right to the end,” he said. “We have not found our groove yet. We are still not playing our best but we got through it and we will try to continue on our path to qualify for the play-offs.”
Rocque joined the team on a 10-month contract last July and, after a one-month training camp in Changchun, has spent the rest of the time on the curling tour “living out of a suitcase”.
The Canadian coach, from Edmonton, said there were good reasons why curling was known as “chess on ice” as the team had to plan several moves ahead before moving in for the kill.
He also said it was a game well suited to the Asian mentality. “They are very smart people and they work hard. They have a really good understanding of the game and have had a lot of experience over the last 10 years. They are no different to any Canadian or North American team.”
Japan were cheered on by JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda – and they needed all the support they could get against a Russian team backed by the vast majority of the 3,000 capacity crowd.
Level at 2-2 after four ends, Japan notched three consecutive one-point ends to lead 5-2 and finished the 10th and last end with a two-pointer to emerge victorious 8-4.
Korea went down 7-4 to Sweden after the Swedes scored three points in the fifth end to lead 4-2 and take control of the game.