Wheelchair curlers pick up third win at Beijing Paralympics
The Korean wheelchair curling team have three wins and four losses after seven games of the round robin tournament at the 2022 Beijing Paralympics, remaining in contention for a knockout round spot with three games still left to play.
The Korean team beat Estonia 5-2 in their seventh game of the round robin tournament on Wednesday, taking an early lead in the first end and holding it for the rest of the game. Estonia was unable to get on the board until the fourth end, by which point Korea were already up by three stones. With Korea taking such an unassailable lead, the game ended after seven ends.
With the win, Korea now sits in eighth place on the round robin tournament ranking with three games left to play.
Competition is tight in the wheelchair curling tournament, with only four teams advancing to the semifinals after each team has played 10 games. Yet despite being in eighth place currently, Korea is only one game off third place.
Canada in third place, Latvia in fourth, Slovakia in fifth and Norway in sixth each have four wins, with Great Britain in seventh and Korea in eighth on three wins. If Korea is able to win a couple of its remaining games, the team could still be in semifinal contention.
Of Korea's three remaining games, only one is against a seriously dangerous competitor — the final game of the round robin tournament will be against Sweden, who have only lost one game in the tournament so far. Before Sweden, Korea will take on No. 7 Great Britain and No. 9 the United States.
As well as the win against Estonia on Wednesday, Korea earlier beat Norway 9-4 on Sunday and Canada 9-4 on Tuesday.
Wheelchair curling differs from the Olympic curling sport in a number of ways. Instead of brooms, wheelchair curlers use delivery sticks to slide the stones. A teammate steadies the athlete’s wheelchair while they slide the stone to help them stay still and improve accuracy. With nobody sweeping, it all comes down to the shooter. As a result, the team’s discussions before each shot are a crucial part of the sport.
While in the Olympics there are three different curling contests — women’s, men’s and mixed doubles — in wheelchair curling there is just one, mixed team. Each team is required to have at least one player from each gender.
As of press time, the wheelchair curling team were set to play their eighth game of the tournament against Great Britain on Wednesday evening.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]