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2017 World Wheelchair Curling Championships
#1
The second successive international competition to be held in the Gangneung Curling Centre is the 2017 WWCC. This is officially a test event for the Paralympics to be held here in 2018. The curling centre is at the heart of the Gangneung cluster for the 2018 PyeongChang Games – where all the ice sports will be held. It is also the only venue in that cluster to have existed prior to PyeongChang winning its bid. It was opened in 1998, has a seating capacity of 3,500, and has undergone renovations ahead of the Games.
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The Championships will start on Saturday 4 March and end a week later with the Medal Games. There are ten mixed teams taking part - Canada, China, Finland, Germany, hosts Korea, Norway, champions Russia, Scotland, Switzerland and USA.

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Scotland are represented by Aileen Neilson (Skip), Gregor Ewan (Third), Hugh Nibloe (Second), Bob McPherson (Lead) and Angie Malone (Alternate).
The team are coached by Sheila Swan. In common with Sophie Jackson's Junior Women's Silver Medallists last week, the Scotland Wheelchair team qualified from the B Championships late last year - a similar result would go down very well. Aileen, Gregor, Bob and Angie won Bronze at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics.

The Scots start on Saturday with 2 games, against Canada in the morning and China in the afternoon. They only have one game on Sunday - Finland, who also qualified from the B Championships.
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#2
Scotland got their Championship programme up and running with an unlucky 4-5 defeat to Canada after an extra end. This afternoon against China, Scotland won by 5-3 in another tight game to leave them in mid-table with a long way to go.
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#3
Scotland saw off previously unbeaten Finland by 6 shots to 3 in a well-controlled game, doing the simple things well. They now lie 2nd equal in the table with Canada, Finland and Norway with only defending Champions Russia ahead of them on 3 wins.

Tomorrow the Scots play Norway and Russia in vital top of the table clashes. I would imagine they would have to win at least one of them to stay in contention, even although they'll be only halfway through their programme.
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#4
Scotland managed to reach the minimum requirement of one win today. The team dominated their first game against Norway, scoring a 5 in the first end, followed by 3 and 4 in the fourth and fifth ends. This resulted in the Norwegians conceding the game after 6 ends with Scotland leading 13-2.

The next game against Russia was back to the normal game with the lead changing hands 4 times. Scotland lay 1 shot (in the rings by just a few centimetres) with the final Russian stone to come, which would have meant the game going to an extra end. The Russian skip took out the Scottish stone to win by 8-7.

Scotland now lie in 3rd equal position with 3 wins and 2 losses alongside Norway. Russia lead with 5 wins and Canada are 2nd with 3 wins and 1 defeat. Both Scottish defeats have been by 1 shot, to Russia and Canada, and their remaining games are against teams below them. Tomorrow they play USA.
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#5
It's turning out to be one of the closest tournaments I have ever followed, with 6 teams tying for 2nd place.

Once again Scotland suffered a 1 shot defeat, this time against USA by 4 shots to 5. Scotland were always behind in this game until the seventh end when they scored a single shot against the head to tie 4-4. Unfortunately the last Scottish stone in the final end was slightly fast to leave USA 1 shot for the win.

Russia now head the table with 6 wins from 6 games and are 1 win away from automatic qualification with 3 games still to play. The log jam that is second place comprises of Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Norway and Scotland, all with 3 wins and 3 defeats. Even the bottom teams - Finland, Switzerland and USA - with 2 wins and 4 defeats have a realistic chance of being in the top 4 come Thursday night. Every one of the ten teams still has a lot to play for. I can envisage a lot of tie-breaker games being played on Friday morning.

Scotland play Switzerland and Korea tomorrow, then Germany on Thursday morning. They then have to sit and wait on the results of the afternoon games to find out if they have qualified.
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#6
Scotland produced two strong performances today to move up the table with one game to play. Firstly they scored 7 shots in 4 consecutive ends to beat Switzerland by 7-3, then beat Korea 6-2 with a dominant second half this afternoon.

Scotland have now gained second place on their own with 5 wins, behind unbeaten Russia who have 8 wins, meaning Russia have now qualified for the last four. Canada and China are 3rd equal, both on 4 wins with 2 games to play and Germany, Korea, Norway and USA have 3 wins with 2 games to go. All of these 6 teams are vying with Scotland for the remaining 3 places available.

Scotland play Germany tomorrow morning and sit out the afternoon session waiting on others to drop by the wayside. A win for Scotland would see them uncatchable, and even a defeat would mean they remain in a fairly strong position, as the other teams are due to play one another, guaranteeing some will be unable to catch Scotland.
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#7
Scotland ensured their qualification this morning by beating Germany 6-3. It was an even game but a score of 4 shots in the sixth end made all the difference. The Scots now play Russia in the 1v2 game tomorrow afternoon, a game in which they stand a good chance of winning, having taken Russia all the way to the final stone in their round robin game.

As for the best of the rest, China beat USA 8-5, Norway hammered Canada 9-2 and Korea did the same to Finland 9-1. In the final session, China secured their place in the 3v4 game by beating Korea 5-4. Surprisingly, Canada hammered previously unbeaten Russia 9-2 and Norway recovered from a poor start to scrape past USA 5-4. Canada and Norway will now play the only tie-breaker game to decide the fourth qualifier.

The other game saw Switzerland beat Germany 6-3, meaning that they will have to play each other again in a play-off with the loser being relegated to next season's B Championships along with bottom of the table Finland.
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#8
Scotland suffered a second defeat against Russia, this time by 2-4. The Scots lost the first two ends and Russia were in no mood to let that lead slip. Russia now advance to the Gold/Silver Medal game with Scotland having to play in the sole Semi-final for another chance to play Russia.

Their opponents will be Norway who held off Canada to win by 5-4. This pitted them against China in the 3v4 game and they eased to a 6-3 win to qualify to play Scotland. The loser of this game will play China for the Bronze Medal.
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#9
Scotland suffered their second defeat in a row this morning, losing to Norway by 3-7 in the Semi-final. In an otherwise tight game Scotland lost 3 ends in a row, culminating in a 3 in the fourth end to be 1-5 down and the game petered out as they ran out of stones in the last end.

The Scots moved on to the Bronze Medal game against China this afternoon, this time running out 9-5 winners despite losing a 4 in the second end. They responded with a strong finish, scoring a 3 and a 2 in the last two ends to win convincingly, gaining the Bronze Medals.

Meanwhile Norway reversed last season's Final, beating Russia by 8-3 with one end to go. The Norwegians won the last 4 ends by 7-1, forcing the Russians to concede the game. Norway came through the hard way, winning their 4 games since the round robin.

Medallists
GOLD - Norway
SILVER - Russia
BRONZE - Scotland

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Photograph taken from the WCF Facebook page

Scotland again improved their overall standing, qualifying from the B Championships to earn a medal. Well done, everyone!

Aileen Neilson, skip, said  “It’s a bit surreal to be honest. Having come off from losing in the 1v2 game to Russia, and then to Norway [in semi-final] we knew we had to come back out here and fight. After giving up the four that was a big ask but it just shows the real dynamics we have on our team. We stuck together and we didn’t let it go until the very last stone was thrown. We’ve lost big ends before and managed to fight back – it’s about not letting that get to you. There are ups and there are downs but it’s how you cope with them. And I think we fought back after the losses. You learn more from the games you lose than the games you win. We have gained so much experience in having come back from the qualifiers to come back and medal. It’s just fantastic. I’m really, really pleased.”
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