Russia clinch European curling title to boost Sochi 2014 hopes
Saturday, 15 December 2012
December 15 - Russia have given themselves a boost for Sochi 2014 by winning the women's Le Gruyère European Curling Championships for only the second time with a 6-5 victory over defending champions Scotland in Karlstad today.
They came out on top in a tense battle that went to an extra end, clinching their first title since 2006.
But it was further heartbreak for Scotland who lost in the final for their ninth defeat in 11 appearances.
Russia skip Anna Sidorova sealed the win with a simple shot in the extra end after her Scotland counterpart Eve Muirhead had drawn the match with the last stone of regular time.
"I still can't believe it," said Sidorova, who celebrated at the end with teammates Liudmila Privivkova, Margarita Fomina and Ekaterina Galkina
"I'm so happy that I cannot feel it.
"I'm really proud of my team and proud to play with these amazing girls."
Muirhead, Scotland's 22-year-old skip, claimed small mistakes had cost her team, which also included Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton, victory following a run of five consecutive victories which had powered them to the final.
"I don't think an awful lot went wrong, it just wasn't our best performance," she said.
"We've played better all week," she said.
"We've proven that we're a good team and we're one of the best teams out here."
Russia's win completed a notable double for Swiss-born coach Thomas Lips, who earlier this year had guided Switzerland's men to the world title.
In the women's bronze-medal match Swedish skip Margaretha Sigfridsson gave the home crowd something to shout about as they beat Denmark 9-3.
They had even more to celebrate in the men's final where the hosts claimed the gold medal with an 8-5 win over neighbours Norway.
Niklas Edin led his Swedish team of Sebastian Kraupp, Fredrik Lindberg, lead Victor Kjäll and alternate Oscar Eriksson to victory in his hometown.
"It feels really good," said Edin.
"We've been struggling a bit this season and really building up for this event.
"We've got the result that we've always been focussing on it.
"Being able to peak at the right time and winning it feels awesome.
"We've been favourites for the last three years and we haven't been able to execute and now we have.
"I'm really proud of my team."
December 2012: Sweden to host 2012 European Curling Championships