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Swiss claim third straight world women’s gold medal

SWIFT CURRENT — Less than a year after being diagnosed with cancer, Irene Schori is a world champion for the second time in three years.

This one meant more to the Switzerland third who wanted to curl during her treatment.

“It was always my goal to play curling,” she said in the aftermath of the team’s 9-6 win over Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa in the final game at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.

Schori was diagnosed with cancer in April 2015.

“I had the whole summer to think about curling. It was my goal to play curling.”

She said winning the Swiss championship was great and the worlds were icing on the cake.

“I have no words for that,” she said of the winning the world championship.

Team Switzerland celebrates its gold-medal triumph on Sunday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Team Switzerland celebrates its gold-medal triumph on Sunday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

It was Switzerland’s fourth world championship in five years, and third in succession.

Two of those championships belong to skip Binia Feltscher, Schori, second Franziska Kaufmann, lead Christine Urech, alternate Carole Howald and coach Al Moore.

Feltscher made an incredible draw to the side of the button in the ninth end to count two and put her team in front 7-6 of Fujisawa coming home. It may well have the shot of the tournament. A steal of two in the 10th gave Switzerland its 9-6 victory.

“Binia was on fire, I think,” Schori said with a laugh. “She played really, really well and made some really great shots. We struggled a bit with sweeping, also the Japanese played a very great game, so congrats to them. It is the better end for us.”

In addition to Feltscher’s win in 2014, Mirjam Ott won in 2012 at Lethbridge, Alta., and Alina Pätz

prevailed last year in Sapporo, Japan.

Schori said the team didn’t have its best season, but peaked at the right time.

“In the end this gold medal is unbelievable; it’s pretty awesome.”

Japanese skip Satsuki Fujisawa led her team to its first-ever world championship medal. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Japanese skip Satsuki Fujisawa led her team to its first-ever world championship medal. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Schori was a double winner Sunday. She was also selected by players at the championship as the recipient of the Frances Brodie Award. There weren’t many dry eyes at the Credit Union iplex when the award was presented.

“It was very emotional,” she said. “It was because of the circumstance. It is great to have some of the players be happy.”

The award honours the curler most exemplifying skill, honesty, fair play, friendship and sportsmanship.”

Fujisawa and her team of third Chinami Yoshida, second Yumi Suzuki, lead Yurika Yoshida, alternate Mari Motohashi and coach J.D. Lind were in a position to win the game on the 10th.

Fujisawa jammed on her first rock to take away the potential of a winning deuce. Then, she was heavy on a draw to four-foot with her final rock that would have sent the game into an extra end, putting a stop to Japan’s memorable run to its first trip to the medal podium at a world men’s or women’s championship.

It was the first medal for Japan in world competition.

“Getting to the final, you just get your hopes up,” Fujisawa said through an interpreter. “We had a chance (for gold), so it was a bit of a disappointment. But we’ll take it.”

Switzerland third Irene Schori, left, accepts the Frances Brodie sportsmanship award from Chief Umpire Dianne Barker. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Switzerland third Irene Schori, left, accepts the Frances Brodie sportsmanship award from Chief Umpire Dianne Barker. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The teams played a relatively conservative first five ends, with Switzerland going into the break with a 2-1 lead.

The back half was a different story.

A perfect draw around a corner guard in the sixth end by Japanese second Suzuki set up the first two-ender of the game. That put Japan up 3-2 playing the seventh end.

A miss by Chinami Yoshida and a jam by Fujisawa in the seventh end set up a three-ender for Switzerland and a two-point lead. Not to be outdone, Japan came right back with three of its own in the eighth. Fujisawa put Feltscher in trouble after a Schori rock just rubbed a corner guard. The Japanese skip had an open hit for three.

Japan played an aggressive ninth end, hoping to steal or force the Swiss to take a point. Instead, Feltscher made the incredible draw to the corner of the button to count two and take a 7-6 lead into the 10th end.

The Swiss team stole two on the final end for its 9-6 margin of victory.

Earlier Sunday, Russia’s Anna Sidorova defeated Canada’s Chelsea Carey 9-8 in the bronze-medal game.

Russia was represented by skip Anna Sidorova, third Margarita Fomina, second Alexandra Raeva, lead Nkeiruka Ezekh, alternate Alina Kovaleva and coaches Svetlana Kalalb and Rodger Schmidt. Skip Chelsea Carey, third Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor, team coach Charley Thomas and national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson represented Canada.

Canadians coached all four teams that made the playoffs.

Total attendance at the Credit Union iplex was 52,138, down a handful of people short of 2010 when 52,305 fans attended, although there was an extra tiebreaker draw in 2010.

Next year’s World Women’s Championship, presented by Ford of Canada, will be held in Beijing, while the 2017 Ford World Men’s Championships will be held April 1-9 at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Tickets are available at http://www.curling.ca/2017worldmen/tickets/

Meanwhile, Kevin Koe will begin his quest for the 2016 World Men’s Championship, presented by Ford of Canada, Saturday (1 p.m. EDT on TSN) in Basel, Switzerland.

For complete results from the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, visit http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/?lang=fr