Korean skip: “Suzhou will be the best experience of our lives”
Choi Chiwon excited for the opportunity to improve as a curler
Chiwon Choi says competing in the Curling World Cup in Suzhou will be “the best experience of our lives” when the Korea mixed doubles team take to the ice at Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre on Wednesday.
Choi will be partnered by Hyeri Jang in the mixed doubles event, who won their Korean trials to compete in the first leg and will be go up against world and Olympic medalists in a stellar field.
The Korean said: “This will be the best experience of our lives - it’s going to be really special for us.
“I’m so proud of myself to be able to participate in first Curling World Cup. I think that this is going to be the biggest opportunity to get better as a curler.
“I would love to experience as much as I can and see how high the level of curling is in the world.”
The competition will be the first chance for the athletes to win prize money while representing their country, with $USD 33,000 up for grabs for the first three legs in Suzhou, Omaha and Jonkoping and $USD 56,000 in the Grand Final next year in Beijing.
Chiwon believes that the prize money for each pool game - $USD 750 in Suzhou and $USD 1,500 in the Grand Final – will raise standards with teams performing under pressure throughout the event.
“Because of the prize money, each game is going to be really tough. But every team is in the same situation so it’s going to be competitive and we can see a better quality of games,” he added.
Korea will not only be represented in the mixed doubles competition but also in the women’s event, with Kim Minji skipping her rink in southeastern China.
Team Minji Kim shocked the Olympic silver medalists Team Eunjung in the Korean trials to compete in Suzhou and the skip admits the money on offer is a huge incentive.
She said: “We think the prize money is a big motivation. We also think the quality of this competition is going to be higher than usual. We think that the first leg is the most important event and we will try to focus more than usual.
“One of our goals is to get a spot in the Grand Final - it would be the greatest gift of all. So, we will be proud of ourselves and become more confident.”
Minji led her rink to bronze at the World Junior Championships two years ago and has already had success this season winning the Hokkaido Bank Curling Classic in the beginning of August.
She admits that playing in the inaugural Curling World Cup will be nerve-wracking, saying: “This is the first Curling World Cup and it’s our first time to be Team Korea, so we are really nervous. But we think this is going to be a new start for us.”