April 20, 2013, Fredericton, NB (ISN) – Hungary made history today as they won their first World Curling Championship title as they defeated Sweden 8-7 in the gold medal game of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2013 at the Grant Harvey Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Hungary’s Zsolt Kiss and Dorottya Palancsa didn’t start well as Sweden’s Frederik Hallström and Elisabeth Norredahl stole two points in the first end. However, Sweden let Hungary back into the game in the second end as Norredahl got her angles wrong as she attempted a tap back, allowing Hungary to take one point.
Norredahl was struggling with her angles again in the third end as her attempted raise was wide giving Hungary a steal of one point to level the game.
In the fourth end Sweden made a vital breakthrough as, with her last stone, Norredahl made a double take-out to leave three Swedish counting stones and give them a 5-2 lead.
Hungary hit back immediately in the fifth end however as Zsolt Kiss made a hit and roll for two points. In the sixth end Norredahl replied, making a tap up for two points in the sixth end to retain their three point lead at 7-4.
Kiss was light with a draw in the seventh end which could have given Hungary three points to level the game but they had to settle for two points to make the score 7-6 in Sweden’s favour.
In the eighth end, Norredahl could not raise one of her own stones into the counting position which gave Hungary a steal of one point to level the game and force an extra end.
In the extra end, Hungary set up a number of counting stones behind guards which forced Sweden to attempt an in-off to take the one point needed for the win. However, this proved a step too far and handed Hungary a steal of one point and the World title.
Afterwards, a delighted Zsolt Kiss said: “I didn’t think we played very well today but we believed we could come back. We knew the Swedish team was very hard to play against. We knew that we had to fight to the last end.”
His partner, Dorottya Palancsa, added: “I think that’s the biggest result (in Hungary’s curling history). We are just a small federation with not such a big history. We achieved this within 10 years and that’s amazing. I hope everyone is happy back home!”
Meanwhile, reflecting on the last end, Sweden’s Frederik Hallström said: “When they ticked and made the corner guards we maybe should have peeled one of them. But it’s hard to place a rock when you can’t come around anywhere. We tried to put it in the front of the four-foot but it over curled and then they got the chance to make the game decision. It was unfortunate when I made a terrible takeout.”
He added: “We’re pretty satisfied, when we get home we’ll be satisfied to have a medal with us, but when you’re up three with two ends to go, of course you want to win the game, but we didn’t.”
In the bronze medal game, Norway, represented by Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien, were heavy with their last stone in the first end to give the Czech Republic, represented by Zuzana Hajkova and Tomas Paul, a steal of two points.
This set the precedent for the game which turned better for the Czechs in the fifth end when Norway were short with their final draw and gave away a steal of three points to make the score 7-1 in the Czechs favour.
The Czech Republic stole again in the sixth end, which forced Norway to concede the game and earn the Czech Republic their first medals in the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.
After their win, Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hajkova said: “I think it was our dream, because we’ve been playing mixed doubles curling for four years. We always think about the Worlds but now that we’re here we’ve got the medal. Now that it’s happened, we’re amazed.”
Her partner, Tomas Paul, said: “We don’t know what to say and what to do right now. I can’t remove the smile from my face. It’s different for both players because I didn’t play very good in the semi-final and Zuzana played really well. This time it was opposite. For me it was my best game of the tournament.”