|Pacific silver and bronze - and a ticket to the Worlds|
Nanjing, China – New Zealand's curlers have ended a successful 2011 Pacific-Asia Curling Championship in China with one of their best results there in years.
The Kiwi men earned a silver medal in the final and – more importantly – entry into next year's World Men's Championship with their semi-final win. The NZ women also surprised with a bronze medal to complete an excellent final day for the squad.
New Zealand narrowly missed the opportunity for a perfect end to the tournament when they faced the Chinese favorites in the men’s final at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre. NZ held last rock advantage but trailed 2-4 in the final end of the game. However, China was able to guard their shot stone well enough to prevent NZ removing it and scoring the three they needed to secure a historic win.
Korea beat Hugh Millikin's Australia 9-2 in the Men's bronze medal playoff.
New Zealand skip Peter de Boer was not too despondent after the final though. "The boys played great all week, it was easy to look good after they set things up so well."
"We're delighted with silver! The aim all week was to finish top four in the round robin, and then win the semi-final series. It seems odd, but the semis are actually more important than the final here because it's the top two sides that qualify for the Worlds. And it's only at the World Championships [in 2012 and 2013] that you can earn Olympic qualifying points. So we're really chuffed about New Zealand curling being back on the world stage, and looking forward to the wind-up party tonight!"
The 2012 World Men's Curling Championship will be held in Basel, Switzerland in March / April. This will be the first World championship for NZ since 2005.
The New Zealand women ended an 8-year medal drought when they upset Japan 8-4 in their bronze medal match to end the day. It was a great finish to what had previously been a disappointing tournament for the team, three of whom were competing for the first time at this level.
China made it double gold for the home teams when they beat Korea 11-3 in the Women's final.
NZ eyeing Pacific-Asia podium
17 Nov 2011 – New Zealand's curlers will be looking to make the podium at the 2011 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in the coming week.
The Men's and Women's tournaments get underway at the Olympic Sports Center in Nanjing, China on Saturday 19 November. 10 teams (6 men’s and 4 women’s teams) from the World Curling Federation Pacific-Asia region will take part in the event with the finals being staged a week later on Saturday 26 November.
In the women’s competition, teams from China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will play to secure the two World Curling Federation Pacific-Asia Zone qualification places for the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2012 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada (17-25 March 2012).
2010 Pacific gold medallist Ji-Sun Kim and her team from Korea are back to defend their title. China’s Bingyu Wang, returns as skip of the Chinese team for the 8th year in a row following their second place finish at the event last year and a bronze medal at the Capital One World Women’s Curling Championship 2011 in Denmark in March. Two-time Pacific Junior gold medallist, Satsuki Fujisawa skips the Japanese line up, and New Zealand Under-21 skip Chelsea Farley will skip the NZ Women for the first time.
In the men’s event, teams from Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will vie for the top two spots and qualification for the World Men’s Curling Championship 2012 in Basel, Switzerland (31 March-8 April 2012).
Defending champions and hosts China will be skipped by Rui Liu. China has won the Pacific men’s title for four years in a row. Chang-Min Kim and his team which won gold at the Winter Universiade 2011 in Erzurum, Turkey represent Korea. 2011 World Senior Curling Championship bronze medallist Hugh Millikin skips the Australian team and Peter de Boer is the New Zealand skip. Randie Shen returns for the third year as skip of the Chinese Taipei team.
The event is being staged in the Olympic Sports Center in Nanjing which will also be the venue for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games. In the 21 year history of the Championships, it is the second time that the event has been hosted by China. (2007 Beijing). Due to the growth of the sport of curling in Asia, the Pacific Curling Federation adopted a new name in 2011. From this year onwards their events in the region will bear the Pacific-Asia title.
CCTV-5, the main sports broadcaster in China, will broadcast extensive coverage of Chinese games throughout the event and the finals on Saturday 26.
Both New Zealand teams will be keen for a top-two finish to give them entry to their respective 2012 World Championship. They will certainly want to improve on their fourth placings at the 2010 Pacific championships in Uiseong, South Korea. This was a particularly disappointing result for the NZ Men, who lost 3 games to the hosts, all in an extra end. Final standings last year were:
Mixed Success for NZ at Pacific-Asia CCs
22 Nov 2011 – New Zealand men still have the semi-finals in their sights halfway through the double round robin at the2011 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships.
The Kiwi women have their work cut out though if they are to feature in the medal rounds at the end of the week.
The NZ Men had a slow start to the tournament, being outplayed in their first two games by Korea 9-5 and China 6-1.
They got back on track with an extra end 8-6 win over the Japanese in the last round on Sunday. Japan scored a double on the 10th end to tie the scores up, but New Zealand had last-stone advantage in the next and made no mistake to secure the win.
New Zealand faced Australia in their first match on Monday, and made an impressive start. A triple in the first end was followed by steals in the fourth and fifth ends after which they led 7-1. NZ then controlled the game to win 8-3.
In the last game of the first round the Kiwi men faced Randie Shen's improving Chinese Taipei. NZ conceded triples in the third and ninth ends, and shook hands when they were run out of stones at 5-8 down in the last.
With the first round completed Korea lead with a perfect 5 wins from 5, ahead of China who have 4 wins. New Zealand, Australia and Chinese Taipei are tied on a 2-3 win-loss record, while Japan have yet to register a win. The top four teams will play in the semi-finals.
New Zealand women are winless after the first round and currently trail the four team field. They went down 2-8 to Japan on Saturday, 1-11 against the Chinese on Sunday and 3-9 to Korea yesterday.
Korea have won all three of their games and lead from China and Japan.
The Men's and Women's tournaments are being played at the Olympic Sports Center in Nanjing, China. The semi-finals are on Friday 25th and the medals decided on Saturday 26th. Gold and silver medallists will qualify for their respective 2012 World Championship.
Crunch day at Pacific-Asia CCs
25 Nov 2011 – The semi-finals at the 2011 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships represent the most important day so far for New Zealand Curling heading into the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
The New Zealand and Korean men are locked at 1-1 in a best-of-five semi-final contest, and two more wins today will send the winner not just to the final of this tournament but also to the 2012 World Men’s Championship where Olympic qualifying points are at stake.
In the last game of the double round robin yesterday, NZ beat Chinese Taipei to finish with a 5 win - 5 loss record in the preliminary games, behind China at 9-1 and Korea at 7-3. Australia beat Korea to finish tied with NZ on the same overall 5-5 result.
The two pool games between the semi-finalists earlier in the week count as the first two matches in the best-of-five series. Both NZ and Australia had lost their two games to the Chinese but were 1-1 against Korea, so both were keen for the third ranking to play the second placed Koreans. The fourth-ranked team would draw China.
It came down to the best total Draw Shot Challenge distance. This went in New Zealand’s favour so they meet Korea today and start at 1-1. Australia play China and will need to win three straight to make the final.
With only four women’s teams playing in these championships, all are still alive at the semi-final stage. New Zealand, still to win a game, have a mountain to climb as they start at 0-2 against the strong Chinese side who were third at the World Championships earlier this year.
Korea will start today at 2-0 when they play Japan in the other women’s semi-final.
The Men's and Women's tournaments are being played at the Olympic Sports Center in Nanjing, China. The semi-finals are today (Friday 25th) and the medals decided tomorrow. Gold and silver medallists will qualify for their respective 2012 World Championship.
NZ Curling returns to World stage
26 Nov 2011 – The New Zealand Men's curling team has qualified for the 2012 World Men's Curling Championship. This will be their first appearance at a World competition since the 2006 Winter Olympics.
The side of Peter de Boer, Sean Becker, Scott Becker, Kenny Thomson and Philip Dowling qualified with a semi-final win against Korea at the Pacific-Asia Championships in Nanjing, China on Friday evening.
The two sides started the best-of-five semi-final series at 1-1 after sharing the honours with a win apiece from their two pool games earlier in the week. The kiwis started their first match on Friday in confident fashion, stealing the first three points of the game. Another big steal late in the match confirmed a comfortable 8-2 win.
The second match was tighter, and a triple on the fifth gave NZ a healthy 5-3 lead at the break. They followed with a steal in the sixth to gain a vital 3 point buffer. The Korean skip had a chance to level the scores in the last end but his draw was just too heavy, and a relieved NZ side took out the game and the series without having to deliver their last stone.
China beat Australia in the other semi-final so will join New Zealand at March's World Championship in Switzerland, where qualification points for the 2014 Winter Olympics are at stake. China and NZ will play for the Pacific-Asia Men's gold medal later today (Saturday).
In the Women's competition New Zealand were well beaten by the experienced Chinese in a 3-0 clean sweep. Korea beat Japan by the same margin.
China and Korea will contest the Women's gold medal and have qualified for the 2012 Women's World Championship. New Zealand will meet Japan for Pacific-Asia bronze.