Double gold for Korea at WGNZ

Korean Men in the final
Korean Men in the final. Photo © Rob Jefferies / Getty Images

Naseby, 28 August 2011 – It was Korea’s day today as they won Gold Medals in both the Men’s and Women’s Fours at the 100% Pure NZ Winter Games curling events. In both matches the Koreans beat the round-robin topping Chinese teams.

Hungary took Gold in the Mixed Doubles. The Hungarian husband and wife team of Gyorgy Nagy and Ildiko Szekeres, World silver medalists in 2009, beat Japan in the final of one of the strongest fields ever assembled outside the World Championships.


Women's Semi-Finals

The action all started when the Woman’s Fours semi-finals and Men’s Fours semi-finals were held last night (Saturday 27 August) to a fantastic crowd at the Maniototo Curling International ice rink where there was standing room only.

Korean Women in the final
Korean Women in the final. Photo © Rob Jefferies / Getty Images

In the Women’s Fours semi-finals the New Zealand Women had a big challenge ahead of them when they faced China. The New Zealand Women picked up a few points throughout the game but China dominated and eventually won 12-3.

Korea played Japan in the second Women’s semi-final. It was a close game with a 5 all scoreline at the end of the seventh. Japan had shot as they threw their last stone of the eighth but if failed to reach the hog line. Korea delivered a hit and lie to pick up 2 points and the lead 7-6. At the end of the ninth Korea had shot with three other stones in the house. Japan had last stone and delivered a great take out shot to score 2 and a tie the match up at 8 all going into the final tenth end. Japan was too heavy with their last stone draw and lost the game 9-8 to Korea.


Men's Semi-Finals

In the Men’s Fours semi-finals China took on the New Zealand Men. In the fourth end New Zealand were down 1-3 with the last stone to play. They delivered a risky takeout with heavy weight hoping the tap back would give them 3 points. Peter de Boer succeeded with a shot that left no margin for error to give New Zealand a lead of 4-3 after the fourth end. The stones were flying fast and furious in the sixth end. New Zealand’s triple take out was followed by a double take out by China. The pace continued with New Zealand producing a hit and roll behind the guard followed by a delicate tap back to give them 2 points and a 6-5 advantage. It was an intense tenth end for the large crowd watching as New Zealand managed to draw to tie the game 8 all and go into extra an extra end. China had the hammer advantage and made use of it to score the single they needed for a 9-8 win.

Peter de Boer
New Zealand Men's skip Peter de Boer. Photo © Rob Jefferies / Getty Images

In the second Men’s Fours semi-final competition Korea battled it out with Australia. It was 6-3 to Korea after six ends but Australia fought back in the next two ends to narrow the margin 6-5 after the eighth. Korea won the ninth end with 3 points putting them four ahead of Australia and winning the match 9-5, and a place in the final against China.


Women's Bronze Medal match

The Men’s Fours and Women’s Fours played for Bronze on the first game of the final day of curling events. In the Women’s Fours Japan took on New Zealand in a game that was evenly matched until the end of the sixth 3 all. Japan took 5 points in the following three ends to head out to a lead 8-3 and victory after nine ends.


Men's Bronze Medal match

In the Men’s Fours for Bronze Australia took on the New Zealand Men. It was a low-scoring game with 4-3 after the seventh to Australia. Two stones on the outside of the button at the end of the eighth called for a measure. The umpire had to measure twice and eventually called in Australia’s favour. New Zealand managed to come back and level the scorea at 5 all after the ninth, with Australia having last-stone advantage going into the decisive tenth end. It was cluttered round the 2 foot circle as New Zealand delivered their last stone in a take out that left a stone of each outside of the button. Australia’s great delivery on their last stone took shot and 1 point giving them the win 6-5.

Ian Palangio who delivered the shot said, “It was a close game and the score was back and forth and we matched each other shot for shot. In the ninth New Zealand got 2 which gave us a tie. With lots of rocks in play we decided to be aggressive and draw around the guards rather than peel them. Peter de Boer made an incredible double take out on his last but left the button open so then I had to draw full button for the win to the delight of the Aussie supporters. The Kiwis played very well - it was a great game!”


Women's Gold Medal match

The Men’s and Women’s Fours Game for Gold was held in the second round of the day. In both games Korea played China with the Chinese having hammer advantage in the first end.

It was a tight game for Gold in the Women’s Fours with a score of 4 all at the fifth end break and 6-4 to Korea after the seventh. Korea extended their lead in the eighth with 1 point. On their last shot of the ninth Korea delivered a take out to get shot stone and one more in the house. China answered with a beautiful delivery that took shot and gave them 1 point narrowing the margin by 2. On their last stone of the tenth China needed to score 3 points to win the game. They tapped up but didn’t manage to get their stone close enough to the button. Korea replied with a delivery that was too light and stopped in front of the house. The umpire was asked to measure to see if China’s second stone was closer to the button but ruled in Korea’s favour giving them the win 7-6. Korean Skip Ji Sun Kim summed the game up by saying, “Today was very good. It was very exciting”.


Men's Gold Medal match

In the Men’s Fours Gold Medal game Korea and China were tied 4 all at the end of the sixth. Korea was up 6-4 at the end of the seventh and 6-5 at the end of the eighth. On their last shot of the ninth China delivered a perfect stone to get shot. Korea answered with an aggressive take out that took shot and gave them 3 points to win the game 9-5.


Mixed Doubles Medal matches

The Mixed Doubles Gold and Bronze games were the final matches for the tournament and again the supporters showed up at the Maniototo Curling International ice rink to cheer on the teams. New Zealand was playing Switzerland for the Bronze, and the Gold Medal was contested by Hungary and Japan.

Mixed Doubles final
All eyes on the Hungarian stone as it approaches the house in the Mixed Doubles final. Photo © Rob Jefferies / Getty Images

Japan opened the scoring with 1 point and Hungary followed with three wins and a lead of 4-1 after the fourth. Japan’s last delivery of the sixth was a bit too heavy and failed to find shot. Hungary had three stones in the house including shot as they delivered their last stone for four ends giving them an 8-2 lead. The house was cluttered in the seventh with Japan having shot and a total of eight stones in the house. Hungary took their final shot and managed to hog their guard. Japan stepped up to the hack but their delivery was too light and they only picked up 2 points and not the 3 they were aiming for. Hungary took the 8-4 win and the Gold Medal, with Japan taking the Silver Medal. Gyorgy Nagy from Hungary said, “We would like to thank all the people of New Zealand as their hospitality to us was excellent. We loved to be here and we enjoyed our stay and I think that helped us to win our events.”

New Zealand had plenty of support in their Bronze Medal game. Switzerland opened the scoring and were leading 5-3 going into the fifth but Bridget Becker pulled off a difficult triple raise promotion to score one in the fifth. With last stone to play on the seventh New Zealand had shot and three in the house. The stone sat nicely inside the house and she took 3 points with the umpire needing to measure for a fourth but Switzerland’s stone was closer and New Zealand took the lead 7-6 going into the final eighth end. Switzerland had shot stone and two more in the house as New Zealand delivered their last stone. It was too light and Switzerland took 1 point giving them a draw of 7 all and an extra end to play.

The pressure showed for the players in extra end as New Zealand hogged one of their stones and Switzerland missed their take out stone entirely. New Zealand had shot with one stone to play after Switzerland played their last stone giving the New Zealand team of Sean and Bridget Becker the Bronze Medal with a win of 8-7. Sean said, “It was a very hard game between two great teams. It was a fantastic result for us – especially after we lost a couple of other games on last rocks. It was great to win a medal for New Zealand at the Winter Games.”

The on-ice Closing Ceremony and Medal Presentation followed. Pipers Jock Scott and Ewan Mason led the procession followed by the dignitaries and then the teams in alphabetical order with New Zealand bringing up the rear. Peter Becker was the Master of Ceremonies and Gerald Dowling, Chairman of Maniototo Curling International, presented the medals. The Women’s Fours were presented first – Bronze to Japan, Silver to China and Gold to Korea. The Men’s Fours were next – Bronze to Australia, Silver to China and Gold to Korea. Peter Becker had the pleasure of then presenting the Mixed Doubles with their medals including his two children Sean and Bridget from the New Zealand team with their Bronze Medals. The Silver was awarded to Japan, Gold to Hungary.

Each of the winning teams was awarded a curling trophy made up of an Oamaru and Greenstone curling stone mounted on a wooden base. It was a proud moment for the winners as their country’s flags were raised and the National Anthems played. At the conclusion of the ceremony the winners were again congratulated and piped from the ice.
 

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