Around The Rinks #5
The latest in the world of curling
Read our round-up of the latest happenings in the world of curling as we build up to the Curling World Cup second leg in Omaha in just three weeks’ time!
Passing the Canadian torch
Team Tracy Fleury will be flying the flag for Canada in Omaha, aiming to replicate Team Rachel Homan’s success in Suzhou. The two Ontario rinks came up against each other in the final of the Tour Challenge over the weekend and it was Team Homan which came out on top.
Tracy Fleury skipped her side to the final after beating this season’s in-form rink Team Kerri Einarson in the semi-finals but came up short, losing 8-4 to the Suzhou champions.
It was the first time the rink had reached a final this season and they will now be preparing for their trip to Omaha in early December for the chance to pocket the $USD 20,000 winners’ cheque.
Omaha prep for mixed doubles
Team Russia’s mixed doubles pairing in Omaha, Anastasia Moskaleva and Alexander Eremin, were in action on home ice last week, competing inside the infamous ‘Ice Cube’ in Sochi, Russia – the curling venue at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The duo reached the semi-finals before being defeated by compatriots Maria Komarova and Daniil Goryachev and missed out on a third-place finish in the play-off. They can take pride, however, in being the only team to defeat eventual winners, Scotland’s Gina Aitken and Scott Andrews.
Also, in action in Sochi were Jenny Perret and Martin Rios, who will now head to their home tournament in Bern and compete alongside fellow Omaha participants in Sweden’s Malin Wendel and Fabian Wingfors.
Europeans in town
The Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2018 start this week in Estonian capital Tallinn and four Curling World Cup rinks are in action.
Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg and Team Niklas Edin, Scotland’s Team Eve Murihead and Russia’s Team Alina Kovaleva are all involved two weeks before the second leg of the Curling World Cup in Omaha begins
Skip Edin will be seeking a fifth consecutive European title and if successful, will match Scotland’s Hammy McMillan’s record of five golds. Interestingly, Team Edin will have to negotiate their way past McMillan’s son and nephew – Hammy Jr and Grant Hardie – in doing so.
Fireworks in Pacific-Asia
Last week’s Pacific-Asia Curling Championships produced some epic matches and culminated in two Omaha rinks facing off in the final.
Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa went into the final unbeaten, having won all seven of their games in South Korea, but it was home favourites Team Minji Kim that claimed gold
Team Kim were beaten by the Japanese rink during the round-robin stage and were 8-7 behind going into the final two ends. But the Koreans produced a terrific comeback to win 12-8, securing a place at next year’s World Curling Championship.
Team Yuta Matsumura winning
All was not lost for Japan, with the men’s rink winning gold in Gangneung. Team Yuta Matsumura – who will be representing Japan in Omaha – were beaten by China’s Team Zou Qiang in the round-robin stage but claimed victory when it mattered in the final.
It has been a terrific season so far for the Japanese rink; this was their third win of 2018-2019 and their first major title at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships.
Russians revel in rivalry
The two most successful rinks in Russian curling, Team Alina Kovaleva and Team Anna Sidorova, went up against each other on the weekend and it took an extra end to divide the two teams.
Team Kovaleva nailed the single required in the decisive end to win the International ZO Women’s tournament in Wetzikon, Switzerland and ensured bragging rights until they next face off.
Skip Alina Kovaleva won European gold three years ago as an alternate for Team Sidorova, but is now reaping rewards as skip in her own right. Team Kovaleva are this season’s highest earners and head to Omaha with genuine medal hopes.