Curling: Win delights Kazakhstan women

It was Kazakhstan's day. The women's team gained the country's first-ever win at the Asia and Pacific curling championships yesterday.

The team of Jane Kim, Nadira Yunussova, Olga Zaitseva and skip Olga Ten caused a major upset in beating Japan 9-8 in a dramatic game at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink.

It is the first time Kazakhstan has entered the event and the men's and women's teams had struggled in the earlier rounds.

The win for the women's team came in its sixth game and it gave notice that Kazakhstan has the potential to become a force in the international arena.

"It is unbelievable how happy I am," skip Olga Ten said. "It's our first really good game and our first win.

"We played very well and everyone made their shots. When they didn't make a good shot they were still confident and felt relaxed.

"It's a very small step forwards towards our Olympic future. It's just great for our heads to know that we can win games. We have felt better about ourselves and it has helped our confidence."

Kazakhstan started well and scored singles on the first three ends to lead 3-0. But three ends later Japan had snatched the lead 4-3 and looked in command.

Kazakhstan scored a one and three on the next two ends to lead 7-4 but Japan regained the initiative by scoring a four on the penultimate end to lead 8-7.

Three members of the Kazakhstan team had competed internationally in gymnastics for the Soviet Union and were used to keeping cool under pressure. That ability was tested on the final end because Kazakhstan needed two shots to win the game.

The New Zealand women's team of Kelsi Heath, Marisa Jones, Brydie Donald and skip Bridget Becker felt confident after comfortably beating Kazakhstan 11-3 on Tuesday,But they were up against Korea which had only lost one game and was second on the points table behind unbeaten China.

Korea sped to a 4-2 lead at the halfway stage and had a three-point cushion over New Zealand after seven of the 10 ends.

New Zealand then displayed its fighting qualities to score singles on the next three ends to level the scores 6-all after 10 ends.

But Korea scored a two on the extra end to win the game 8-6.

The strong Chinese team beat Australia 10-3 and remains unbeaten after six rounds.

Korea has five wins, Japan three, Australia two and New Zealand and Kazakhstan one each.

The New Zealand men's team played its best game of the championships when it lost narrowly to China 6-5.

New Zealand made a flying start and led 3-0 after four ends and 5-2 after six ends.

But the unbeaten Chinese fought back with a two on the seventh end and a single on the ninth to level the scores 5-5.

China gained the winning shot on the final end to put paid to New Zealand's chances of reaching the semifinals.

China and Korea are both unbeaten with four wins, followed by Japan with three wins, Australia two, Chinese Taipei and New Zealand one. Kazakhstan has yet to win a game,.

The key men's games at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink today are between China and Korea and Australia and New Zealand.