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China’s men’s curling team qualifies for semi-finals

17 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: China’s men’s curling team clinched a place in the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament on the last day of round-robin play at the Ice Cube Curling Centre on Monday afternoon. Going into the final round of the qualifying tournament, China stood in third place with a 6-2 win-loss record, behind Sweden (8-1) and Canada (7-2), who had completed their programme and already qualified for the semi-finals.

China’s opponents were Great Britain, who were in fourth place on 5-3, ahead of Norway (5-3) – the only other teams that could reach the last four. With the China-Britain match all square at 5-5 going into the 10th and last end, Norway fell 5-3 to Denmark on another sheet (competition area), meaning the Norwegians could not match China’s six wins and therefore putting China into the semi-finals regardless of their result against Britain.

In the end, China finished in style and beat Britain 6-5 to complete their nine matches with a 7-2 record, and setting up a semi-final on Wednesday against Canada – home country of China’s curling coach, Marcel Rocque. “It is a hard situation but I have come to terms with that,” said Rocque, a high school teacher from Edmonton on a 10-month contract to coach China’s national curling teams.
“I will help them succeed, even against my own country. Our goal in every tournament we have played has been to reach the play-offs, to fight and scrape to qualify – and that object has been met. Now we turn the page. “I have not seen them play in a high-stakes game, and really you do not know how the individual will deal with a high-stakes game like this. But they have made huge progress.”
The Canadian coach added: “I think their achievement in qualifying for the play-offs will give a big boost to curling in China and attract more young players to take up the sport. It is a gentleman’s game and fits beautifully with the Olympic model.”
While China meet Canada in one semi-final, Sweden will play the winner of a Tuesday tiebreaker between Britain and Norway after both teams finished with a 5-4 win-loss record. Canada beat China 9-8 in the round-robin in a game that was decided in the first extra end.Caption: China's men's curling team discuss tactics against Britain.
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