Canada closes in on Olympic berth
Canada has taken a major step toward qualifying for the first Olympic mixed doubles curling competition
Saskatoon’s Marliese Kasner and Dustin Kalthoff won twice on Saturday in the Classification Round playoffs at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Karlstad, Sweden, to secure a fifth-place finish and eight Olympic qualifying points.
The combined results from this year’s World Mixed Doubles Championship and the 2017 World Mixed Doubles Championship in Lethbridge, Alta., will determine the seven teams that join host South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Saturday’s performance was an impressive bounce-back for Kasner and Kalthoff after a heartbreaking loss to Scotland in the quarter-finals on Friday, which removed them from medal contention.
“After yesterday we were quite disappointed with not pulling through against Scotland, but we knew there were lots of points on the line for Team Canada with points for the Olympics, so yeah, we’re pretty proud that we came off with two wins today and got the extra points that we needed,” said Kasner after the final win.
“We came out (against Estonia) wanting to have some fun and making some shots again. We continued to do that, and got them on a couple, and the game went our way, so it was good,” she said.
After winning the Classification Round semifinal 10-5 over Finland’s Oona Kauste and Tomi Rantamaki — a game in which Kalthoff was 100 per cent on takeouts — Canada came out firing against Estonia’s Marie Turmann and Harri Lill. The Canadians stole four points in the first two ends and never looked back in a decisive 8-2 victory.
Russia’s Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitskiy won the gold medal with a 7-5 win over China’s Rui Wang and Dexin Ba. Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo of the U.S. won bronze, the first World Mixed Doubles medal for their country, defeating Scotland’s Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat 9-7.
“(To be at a curling event with) 42 different countries is pretty cool,” Kasner said. “It’s a great event, and it’s great that everybody has a chance to compete in it. We’re pretty proud to be fifth out of all those teams.”