Morozumi’s Japan win first Pacific-Asia gold

  • Japan with PACC 2016 trophy Photo: © WCF / Richard Gray

Japan’s men’s team have won the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2016 at the Uiseong Curling Training Center, in Uiseong, Korea.

The team lead by skip Yusuke Morozumi – and made up of third Tetsuro Shimizu, second Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, lead Kosuke Morozumi and alternate Kohsuke Hirata – beat Rui Lui’s China in the final 5-3. This was Morozumi’s seventh PACC final, sixth against China and third against Rui Liu but only his first time winning gold.

China collected silver medals, while hosts Korea, skipped by Soo Hyuk Kim took home the bronze medals after beating Chinese Taipei 6-8, in a closely fought bronze medal game. For Chinese Taipei, the opportunity to compete in the bronze final presented them with a chance to qualify for December 2017’s Olympic Qualification Event.

After stealing a single point in the third end, China established a 2-1 lead in the gold final, before Japan scored two points in the fourth end and went in front again, 3-2. China’s tactic was to then blank a series of ends, which they sustained up to the eighth end.

In the ninth end, with his last stone, Morozumi accomplished a double takeout to split the house and lie shot stone at the edge of the 12-foot ring. However, China had hammer and attempted to remove the Japanese shot stone and roll their stone deeper into the house to take a score of two and a point lead, however after nudging the Japan stone, but not out of the rings, they pushed their own stone off the rings handing Japan a steal of two and a 5-2 lead. In the end this proved the decisive play in the game. The match ended 5-3.

On the next sheet in the bronze medal game, Korea and Chinese Taipei were also locked in a close game. In the second end Chinese Taipei, skipped by Randolph Shen, scored an ambitious four points, which gave them a 4-2 lead. However, steals of two points in the each of the fourth and fifth ends brought the advantage into Korea’s favour, 7-4 at the fifth end break. The teams exchanged single points in the subsequent ends, but the deficit proved too big to recover from for Chinese Taipei, with the game ending 8-6 to the hosts.

They said it:

Yusuke Morozumi; skip, Japan (after 5-3 gold medal win over China): “Yesterday, we made it to the Worlds and now we’ve won [the PACC]. I’m feeling super happy. We couldn’t win over China in the final, we’ve never defeated them, but now we’ve won and we’re Pacific-Asia champions, this means a lot for our confidence and energy.”

Rui Liu; skip, China (after winning silver medal): “I’m very satisfied. My team worked very hard together. Even though it’s a new team we still made a lot of big shots and won a lot of games.”

Soo Hyuk Kim; skip, Korea (after 8-6 bronze medal win over Chinese Taipei): “It was a bit of a disappointment after the loss last night so having that in mind I went into the curling rink, but overall I felt we put our best effort into it. [In future], through many other games, competitions and championships we will prepare more on the mental state of the game.”

Result men’s gold medal final: Japan 5-3 China
Result men’s bronze medal final: Korea 8-6 Chinese Taipei

Standings after men’s finals (W-L):

G Japan 8-2
S China 8-2
B Korea 8-2
Chinese Taipei 6-4
New Zealand 4-4
Hong Kong 3-5
Australia 2-6
Kazakhstan 1-7
Qatar 0-8

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