Canadian Paralympians going for gold
Team Canada enters the 2014 Paralympics wheelchair curling semifinals Saturday in Sochi, Russia coming off two lopsided results – one for, one against – to finish the round-robin Thursday.
Canada, whose lineup includes North Okanagan athletes Sonja Gaudet of Vernon and Ina Forrest of Armstrong, finished second in the standings at 7-2, and will play China (5-4) in one semifinal Saturday.
Russia (8-1) meets Great Britain (5-4) in the other.
On the back of an earlier history-making win against Slovakia, Canada lost their final game of the round-robin Thursday to Finland.
The Finns, who finished last in the standings at 2-7, built up a 7-0 lead and cruised to a 12-1 win over Canada.
“My mother told me there would be days like this,” said Canadian skip Jim Armstrong, three times named Most Sportsmanlike player at the Brier Canadian men’s curling championships.
“It happens. We were just on the wrong side of it the whole day. Fortunately, it was a game that didn’t have a lot of impact. It’s not the first game and it won’t be the last.”,
Armstrong’s rink started Thursday by shutting out Slovakia (4-5) by a record score of 16-0.
Canada created history not only by scoring the most number of points in a Paralympics Winter Games curling match, they also set the record for the highest win margin.
Slovakia started with the hammer which proved worthless as Canada stole all of their 16 points in the first six ends to earn their place in the history books, though Armstrong said there was never an intention to run up the score on the Slovaks.
“We don’t like to run the score up, but we had the opportunity to use it to find our own game and that was the important part,” he said.
Canada beat China 8-5 in the round-robin Tuesday, rebounding from its first loss, an 8-6 decision to Norway. Canada’s lone game Wednesday was a 10-4 win over Korea where Forrest played vice-skip (third), and called the win “a total team effort.”
“Everyone brings something different to the table,” said Forrest. “We had a lot of rocks in the house so it gives you the opportunity to get more points. That always makes for a better game.”
Canada was the only team to defeat the host Russians (5-4 on opening day).