China wins wheelchair curling gold for first-ever Winter Paralympic medal

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-17 22:19:22|Editor: Zhou Xin
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PYEONGCHANG, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China made history on Saturday, winning its first-ever Winter Paralympic medal, a wheelchair curling gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

The Chinese team exploited an extra end to beat world champion Norway 6-5 in the final for its first-ever medal, and even a gold, in the history of the Winter Paralympic Games.

China, which finished fourth at the Sochi Winter Paralympics four years ago, defeated defending champion Canada in the semifinal on Friday, after an outstanding 9-2 win-loss sheet from the round robin games.

"We just cheered each other on throughout the game and I tried to do my best. Maybe that's the reason why we could get the gold medal," said China's skip Wang Haitao.

"China, my country, is very important for me, so hearing the national anthem was a very special moment. It's the first medal for China in the Winter Paralympic Games, and I think it is pretty big," said Wang.

Skipped by Wang, China opened its scoring with two points in the first end, together with third Chen Jianxin, second Liu Wei, lead Wang Meng. They were supported by alternate Zhang Qiang and coach Yue QingShuang.

Norway scored a single point in the second end, added two more in the third through a rare mistake from Wang who then levelled the scores in the fourth end with a hit for one point.

The second half turned much more tense, with Norway blanking the fifth and hitting for a single point in the sixth.

In the seventh end, the Chinese team scored two points, taking a 5-4 lead into the eighth where Norway only added one to force an extra end.

The Chinese team then displayed their stunning form as Chen, the third player, made a precise draw around six guards to sit in the four-foot as shot stone, which Norway failed to clear with its last two attempts, awarding China its first-ever gold medal in the Winter Paralympic Games.

The home crowd saw their historic moment when sit skier Sin Eui Hyun won South Korea's first-ever Winter Paralympic gold medal from the men's 7.5km cross-country. He already took bronze over 15 km.

"I'm so happy to perform my game at home in Korea," said the emotional Sin. "I promised all the press and journalists that I would sing the hymn of Korea. Today we heard the Korean hymn and I'm very happy for this."

Host South Korea won a bronze medal in the ice sledge hockey, sealing its first Paralympic medal in the sport.

The country beat Italy 1-0 in the bronze medal match, cheered by the home crowd including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook.

On the penultimate day of the Games, the United States took a dominant lead in the medal table with 35 medals in total, including 12 golds, 15 silvers and eight bronzes.

The Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) and Canada followed suit with eight golds, while Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia have secured six golds.

The NPA refers to Russian para-athletes in PyeongChang as Russians were banned from competing under their national flag for the alleged state-sponsored doping scandal.

China shared the 19th place with Kazakhstan, while South Korea rose to the 15th place together with Finland and New Zealand that have won one gold and two bronze medals.