By Tom Degun

Russia celebrate_winning_world_wheelchair_curling_Korea_February_25_2012February 25 - Russia have claimed victory at the 2012 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Chuncheon by emphatically defeating hosts South Korea 9-1 in a very one sided final.

South Korea started well at the Uiam Ice Rink as they claimed a point in the first end.

However, it proved to be their only point of the final as the Russians, led by Skip Andrey Smirnov (pictured below), dominated from then on to claim nine straight points leaving the hosts resigned to defeat and left to shake hands at the end of the seventh end, giving Russia the 2012 title.

Andrey Smirnov_World_Championships_Korea_February_25_2012It is a huge boost for Russia ahead of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, for which the event offered qualification points, and Smirnov admitted that his team were delighted to claim their first ever world title.

"We feel very good, excellent actually, to have this win, we can't wait to get back to Moscow and the celebrations that we will have there," he said.

"The Koreans gave us a hard game.

"It was not as simple as the score looks but we are very happy to win the gold medal."

South Korean Skip Hak Sung Kim admitted that it was a bitterly disappointing final and confessed that the pressure got to his players.

"Today's game didn't work out as well as we thought," said Kim.

"My team were all a little tight, they couldn't loosen up.

"Nervousness made our shots go wrong and we didn't make the shots we thought we would make and we really struggled.

"We need to try and read the ice a little better; that was critical in this tournament.

"Second of all, our players need to learn how to enjoy themselves more.

"If you concentrate too much on winning, then your body tightens up so we need to learn how to relax.

"As a skip, I want to try and make an environment where the players can relax a little more."

Meanwhile, China took the bronze medal by winning their game against Slovakia 7-4.

The outcome of the game was virtually decided in the fifth end when the Chinese stole three points and led 7-2.

The Slovaks played on until the eighth end, picking up a further two points in the seventh but it was in vain as China picked up the bronze medal.

"Now we can relax but we are very excited to have won," said Chinese Skip Haitao Wang.

"We feel great, but our goal is a gold medal in the future."

Slovak Coach Frantisek Pitonak was gracious in defeat as his team finished in fourth.

"We think we played quite well in seven of the ends, but when we lost three points, this end ultimately led to the final outcome," he said.

"First of all, qualification for next year's event was our main objective.

"Our biggest dream was to stay in the World Championships, which meant finishing in eighth place or above.

"But then, our focus changed when we're playing better and better."

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