WJCC 2013: Russia women win gold, Scotland silver and Japan bronze

Russia, World Junior Curling Champions 2013 Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

Having seen their men's team lose their final earlier, Russia's women made no mistake in beating defending champions Scotland by 6-5 after an extra end at the women's gold medal final at the World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday afternoon.

To win the world junior title in their home nation, the Russian women - fourth player Yulia Portunova, skip Alina Kovaleva, second Alexandra Saitova, and lead Oksana Gertova, supported by alternate Olesya Glushchenko - had to come from behind in their game.

The first end was blanked and then, when Russian fourth player Portunova missed a double take-out attempt in the second, Scottish skip Hannah Fleming had an easy draw to open the scoring with two points.

In the third end, both Fleming and Portunova wrecked on the way into the house with their last stones, but, with one stone already counting, Russia opened their account with a single point.

The Scots had plenty of stones in the house during the fourth end, but when Fleming's complicated promote attempt went wrong they could only count one point, for a 3-1 lead. Russia then levelled the game at 3-3 in the fifth end when Portunova had a simple tap-up with her last stone to score two points.

Scotland then blanked the next two ends looking for a big score, but their tactic backfired in the eighth end when a perfect draw by Portunova forced the Scots to attempt a double take-out that failed, giving Russia a two-point steal and the lead, by 5-3, for the first time in the game.

After a long discussion before they played their last stone in the ninth end, the Scots chose to blank, and then good play in the tenth end gave them their reward when Fleming eventually hit for two points to tie the game and force the extra end.

In the extra-end, the Scots placed their front guards too close together, allowing Russia easy peels, and with her last stone Portunova delivered a perfect nose hit on a Scottish stone sitting at the front of the house for the one point needed to complete the win.

Afterwards, Russian skip Alina Kovaleva said: “I am very happy. Everyone’s dream came true so it is wonderful, it’s fantastic. Once the boys lost this morning, we had to win, so that was a good motivation for us."

Meanwhile coach, Anders Kraupp, said: "Well it is an amazing feeling, a little bit unbelievable actually. We came from behind and I think the girls played really good. I’m not that surprised but to come from behind, I’m really, really happy. This is an amazing feeling. We will celebrate tonight."

Scottish skip Fleming was gracious in defeat, saying: "We just weren't firing as well in the final as we have been. But you've got to hand it to Russia because they played well. But I'm really disappointed because we just didn't show up in the final." Looking at specific points in the game she added: "The force of one in the fourth wasn't great and when they stole a two that gave them a great advantage."

Japan ended their 14-year junior medal drought when they beat the Czech Republic by 8-4 to take bronze, the first medals for their country at this level since 1999.

In doing so, they dominated their game, opening with two points in the first end. After this, the Czechs levelled with two of their own in the second end, but Japan then blanked the third, scored two points in the fourth, and stole one point in the fifth for a 5-2 half-time lead.

They sealed their win when skip, Sayaka Yoshimura, made a draw into the four-foot ring to score two points in the ninth end, at which point made the score 8-4. After this they ran the Czechs out of stones in the tenth end.

Speaking afterwards, Japan skip Yoshimura said: "I'm happy. Very, very happy. When we lost the semi-final yesterday, we looked back at the game and we modified our mistakes for this game. Today we could make the good shots in important situations, so that was good."

Meanwhile Czech skip, Zuzana Hajkova, was wistful, saying: “That was really bad. I don't know what happened. It was just misery the whole time. We had chances in the first half but in the second half there was nothing. Japan can play very nice shots, they're very consistent. They were able to make the shots they needed in the most important situations so they were better for this game."

Reflecting more, Hajkova added: "Of course I am proud of my team. I am proud, but now I feel like everybody is upset because we lost the final. But if I take in the whole week we played some very nice games."

During the medal ceremony, USA third Thomas Howell was announced as winner of the Sportsmanship Award among the men, while Sweden's skip, Sara McManus, received the women's award.

RESULTS

Women’s Gold Medal Game: Scotland 5, Russia 6
Women’s Bronze Medal Game: Japan 8, Czech Republic 4

Women’s Final Standings:
1. Russia won 9, lost 4. (Gold)
2. Scotland 9-2 (Silver)
3. Japan 7-5 (Bronze)
4. Czech Republic 6-6
5. Sweden 5-5
6. Denmark 5-5
7. USA 4-5
8. Switzerland 3-6
9. Canada 3-6
10. Norway 1-8 (Relegated to European Junior Curling Challenge)

Full game replays of all webcast games, news, results, shot by shot and Galleries are available on the event website: http://wjcc2013.worldcurling.net

World Junior Curling Championships Facebook Page: Hit ‘like’ to keep updated for next year’s event: http://www.facebook.com/WorldJuniorCurlingChampionships

Twitter hashtag for the event: #wjcc2013

The World Junior Curling Championships 2014 will take place in Flims, Switzerland, from 26 February to 5 March 2014 in the Waldhaus Curling Arena.
Scotland, World Junior Curling Championships 2013 silver medallists

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