Curling: 'Ice man' key in Chinese win

Chinese skip Rui Liu is known as the ice man. His cool temperament under pressure helped China win its sixth successive Asia and Pacific men's curling title yesterday.

The Chinese team of Dexin Ba, Jialiang Zang, Xiaoming Xu and Rui Liu beat Kosuke Morozumi, Tetsuro Shimizu, Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi and Yusuke Morozumi (Japan) 6-2 in a tight final at the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink.

It puts China on target for a spot at the Sochi Olympic Games in Russia in 2014.

Liu (30) saved shots with his last stone and also added the bonus shots. He was the rock that shut Japan out of the game.

"He has done it all week and allowed us to control the game," coach Lorne Hamblin said.

The Chinese game plan was to clear out the house and restrict the scoring to singles on most ends.

Liu played a key role in all the ends in which China scored points and his accuracy on the spot draw play limited Japan's chances when it had the last rock.

Liu was one down on the head when he pushed out the Japanese rock with his last stone to give China its first points on the second end.

Liu kept his cool on the fifth end, just before the break, and drew the shot with his last bowl to give China a 3-1 lead after five of the 10 ends. It was a crucial last rock because Japan had two stones in the house.

The seventh end was the decider when China gained the only two of the game to take a decisive 5-2 lead. It came after Japanese skip Morozumi ran his last rock into a block and Liu drew the bonus shot.

On the eighth end, Japan lost a scoring chance when its skip was short with his last rock.

It was Liu again on the ninth end when he pushed out the Japanese scoring stone to get a point to end the game.

China is in sixth place on the Olympic Games qualifying list but is not taking anything for granted.

"Getting to the world championships is the icing on the cake for us," Hamblin said. "But we will need to finish at least in the middle of the pack to get to the Olympics."

Australia won the bronze medal by beating Korea 10-7 when skip Sean Hall removed the three scoring Korean stones from the house with his last rock and stayed in himself.


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