On 16-26 February, the Gangneung Curling Centre was put through its paces as it played host to the World Junior Curling Championships 2017. And the official test event for PyeongChang 2018 produced plenty of joy for the host nation as they claimed a historic first gold in the men’s event.
The Korean men, skipped by Ki Jeong Lee, edged out the US rink in the final in a tight and tense encounter that featured four non-scoring ends.
The host nation had to wait until the seventh end to take the lead, 3-2, and in the final end held their nerves at 4-4 to score the winning point.
“We played the USA in the previous rounds and we lost, so we wanted this win very badly, we really wanted to win this gold,” said Ki Jeong Lee. “We could not have done this without the fans, the support from our parents and our coaches, so we really want to thank them – we are so ecstatic in winning gold.”
In the bronze medal match between Norway and Scotland, the Norwegians built up a 7-0 lead with steals in each of the first three ends on the way to a 10-3 win to claim their first ever podium finish.
On the previous day, Sweden defeated Scotland 10-7 in the women’s final. In the early ends, the two rinks cancelled each out before the Scots scored three points in the fourth end to take a 4-3 lead. However the Swedes then scored five points in a row to open up a commanding lead, which they held until the end of the contest.“It feels super-duper good,” said Sweden’s skip Isabella Wranaa. “I think when we stole two was a huge turning point and then when we went to the tight part to get another two in the eighth was another big event for the game. The fact that our fans flew over here just to see us play is fantastic.”