Italy women and Switzerland men collect bronze medals in St Gallen

  • Italy with their silver medals Photo: © WCF / Richard Gray

Italy’s women’s team and the host nations men’s team, Switzerland won bronze medals in Friday (24 November) evening’s play at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2017 in St Gallen, Switzerland.

The Italian women beat Switzerland by 7-6 to give skip Diana Gaspari her first medal in 11 years, while the Swiss men emerged as 6-5 winners over Norway.

In the women’s game, Switzerland’s skip Silvana Tirinzoni opened with a draw for three points in the first end. Italy’s skip Diana Gaspari responded in the second end, scoring two points with a double take-out to reduce Switzerland’s lead to 3-2. But, the key point of the game came in the eighth end when Italy stole three points for a 6-4 lead after Tirinzoni wrecked her last stone on the way into the house. Gaspari then played a hit and stay in the tenth end to score the one point that sealed her victory, at 7-6.

Italy’s bronze medallists are skip Gaspari, vice-skip Veronica Zappone, second Chiara Oliveiri, lead Angela Romei and alternate Stefania Constantini. This will now go to the Olympic Qualification Event 2017, in Pilsen Czech Republic [5-10 December], to try to qualify for the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games – a final two women’s and two men’s teams will qualify from that event.

In the men’s game, the lead changed hands three times in the first half. In the sixth end, Norway’s skip Thomas Ulsrud drew for one point to reduce Switzerland’s lead to 4-3. However, in the seventh end, Switzerland’s fourth player Benoit Schwarz increased his team’s lead again to 6-3 when he hit out a Norwegian stone on the button to score two points.

Norway could only score just one point in the ninth end and in the tenth end, Schwarz knocked out one of two Norwegian stones in the house, which was enough for Switzerland’s 6-5 win.

Switzerland’s team is made up of skip Peter de Cruz – who plays second stones – vice-skip Schwarz, third Claudio Paetz, lead Valentin Tanner and alternate Dominik Maerki. This team will represent Switzerland at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in February.

On Saturday (25 November) the women’s and men’s finals will both be between Sweden and Scotland. All the athletes in the two finals have also been selected to compete at the Olympic Winter Games.

The next live game, on national broadcasters and World Curling TV (geo-blocking applies), at these championships will be the women’s gold medal game between Sweden and Scotland at 10:00, Central European Time (+1 hours, Greenwich Mean Time) on Saturday morning.

The men’s gold medal game will follow, also live on air, at 15:00 (CET).

They said it

Diana Gaspari; skip, Italy (after 7-6 bronze medal game win over Switzerland): “We’re very happy. It’s amazing that we were able to get to this point. We came here with the goal of qualifying for the world championship but then things were going well. It was more than our expectation when we got to the play-offs. Today, we knew that Sweden were too strong for us in the semi-final. We lost, but maybe Switzerland were more upset than us. This will do a lot for our confidence at the Olympic qualifier. We will be a different team there with a lot more confidence, we now know we can play at this level.”

Peter de Cruz; skip, Switzerland (after 6-5 bronze medal game win over Norway): “It feels good to have a medal. If we had ended this championship without a medal it would have been a little bitter. We couldn’t make the final this week, but we’re happy. The crowd made a big difference and that put more pressure on the Norwegian team. The fifth end was the turning point that changed the game. We didn’t have a great start but we stayed calm, we stayed focussed. We knew we were going to have our opportunities and we took them.”

Bronze medal results: Italy 7-6 Switzerland [women]; Norway 5-6 Switzerland [men]

World challenge results: Denmark 8-5 Finland [women]; Italy 6-2 Finland [men]

Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of these championships via the World Curling Federation’s broadcast partners on Eurosport 1 and 2, Eurosport Player, Eurosport Asia Pacific, RTS, SRF and RSI (Switzerland), SVT (Sweden), TVP Sport (Poland), La Chaine Equipe (France), TSN (Canada), NBCSports (United States) and the Olympic Channel. Coverage will also be available on the event website, the World Curling Federation’s Facebook and YouTube Channel, (note geo-blocking will apply in certain territories).

To keep up-to-date with all the action from these championships, and the teams’ journey to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #ECC2017 #curling

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