Winter Youth Olympic Games - Mixed Doubles Quarterfinals

Photo: WCF / Richard Gray

Mixed Doubles teams from Korea/Norway, Germany/Switzerland, Japan/Korea and Russia/USA have made it to the semifinals of the unique Mixed Doubles Curling Competition at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The semifinals take place on Sunday 22 January at 09:00 local time (CET) at the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre and will see Korea take on Korea in one of the games. The Korea/Norway duo of Eunbi Kim and Martin Sesaker face Mako Tamakuma of Japan and teammate Minhyeon Yoo of Korea. In the other game, Russia’s Marina Verenich and partner Korey Dropkin (USA) will play Nicole Muskatewitz (GER) and Swiss teammate Michael Brunner, who skipped Switzerland to Gold in the Mixed Team Curling competition earlier on in the event.

In an exciting round of quarterfinals on Saturday evening, Dropkin and Verenich were the first to secure their semifinal spot, stealing their way to a 5-0 lead by the fourth end. Their opponents, Corryn Brown from Canada and Austria’s Martin Reichel were unable to catch up and eventually the RUS/USA duo stretched their lead to 9-3 to win the game.

“It feels great. I didn’t know what to expect when we first started playing,” said Dropkin, “it’s been awesome and we’ve played pretty well and won a couple of games. We’ve had great draw weight, which has helped us get our draws buried and get some points.”

Their opponents in the semifinals, Muskatewitz (GER) and Brunner (SUI), faced Mikhail Vaskov from Russia and his Czech teammate Zuzana Hruzova in the quarterfinals. The Czech-Russian duo struck an early lead until Brunner and Muskatewitz stole two points in the fourth end and a further point in the fifth. The game slipped out of their hands and the German-Swiss pair won 8-3.

“It was a great match. At the beginning of the game I thought it would be a tough game,” explained Muskatewitz afterwards. “They scored some early points and I was like ‘oh no’. Then I did not play very well. But in the end we improved and our game play was a lot better.”

Japan’s Mako Tamakuma and Korea’s Minhyeon Yoo have already said they have their sights set on the Gold medal in this event and they notched up another win against Taylor Anderson (USA) and Duncan Menzies (GBR).

Mako Tamakuma was very pleased with her last shot as her opponents were lying two for an extra end. She managed a delicate out-wick raise to lie shot and win the game 7-4.

In the semifinals, Tamakuma and Yoo will meet Eunbi Kim (KOR) and Norway’s Martin Sesaker who had the closest match of the quarterfinals against Anastasia Moskaleva from Russia and Tsukasa Horigome from Japan. The game went all the way to an extra end, with the Korean-Norwegian duo stealing a point for a 7-6 win.

“We were winning at first then they got points in the middle so I was really nervous,” said Kim. “But then we won the game and I’m so happy to be playing in the semifinals with Martin.”

The Mixed Doubles Curling Competition at the Winter Youth Olympic Games sees athletes from different nations paired together to form teams. The team line ups were decided on the final standings of the Mixed Team Curling Competition which took place at the start of the Games. In all, there were 32 teams at the start of the Mixed Doubles event, which is a single knockout – meaning you have to win to stay in for the next round.

More quotes from the sessions can be found here:

Instead of playing in teams of four, mixed doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female. The game is played on the same sheets of ice as ‘traditional’ curling.
Teams have only six stones each (instead of eight) and one of those stones, from each team, is prepositioned on the centreline before each end of play starts. One player delivers the first and last stones and the other player plays the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stones. The two players can swap positions from one end to the next if they choose. The sweeping can be done by both team members.

Curling fans can keep up to date with the latest scores from the event via the World Curling Federation micro-site:

The World Curling Federation is also be updating regularly from the event via their fan feeds on Twitter and Facebook

A daily highlights video clip covering all of the Winter Olympic sports taking place at the Games will be available on the Innsbruck 2012 YouTube site

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