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GB team suffer poor opening day

Mike McCreadie and Jim Armstrong

GB curlers suffer double defeat at Paralympics

Great Britain's Paralympic team suffered a disappointing opening day of action in Vancouver and Whistler.

The wheelchair curling team lost 9-2 to defending champions Canada in their opener and went down 7-5 to Norway.

And skiers Sean Rose and Russell Docker must wait for their first races at Whistler Creekside after Saturday's downhill was postponed.

The course was hit by poor visibility and after a two-and-a-half hour delay, the action was abandoned.

At the curling, Great Britain, who feature three members of the team who won silver in Turin four years ago, took a one-point lead against the hosts and favourites.

Skip Michael McCreadie missed a couple of take-outs to hand the initiative back to Canada and the home side led 6-1 after four ends and never let their opponents get back into the game.

They suffered a further setback in a 7-5 defeat by the Norwegians that went down to the wire in the eight-end contest.

The GB team now face Switzerland on Sunday hoping to start on a winning path to a top-four finish in the eight-team tournament and a place in next weekend's semi-finals next weekend.

Michael McCreadie's Paralympic curling guide

McCreadie saw encouraging signs in defeat, saying: "It was a good start for us with a steal, but then we were too aggressive in the second and third ends.

"We tried to claw back but you just have to learn from these games. If we're going to have that kind of game, why not have it early?"

Canadian skip Jim Armstrong had sympathy for McCreadie, saying: "Great Britain are better than the score showed.

"We go on the ice quick and it was curling a lot more than we were used to. They had to come to us and it was tough for them."

There was a strong start against Norway too, with Britain opening up a 3-0 lead after two ends before rival skip Rune Lorentsen engineered a comeback to put his team 5-3 up after five ends.

British fourth Aileen Neilson got her side back on track to score with a draw on the hammer at end of the sixth and a missed take-out from Lorentsen with the hammer in the next end gave GB the steal to level the scores at 5-5 going into the final end.

Norway had the hammer, although their lead Anne Mette Samdal sent down the crucial stone, around Malone's guard with what was to be the winning point as Britain went down for the second time.

Russia's Irek Zaripov
Zaripov won the first gold of the Games in men's biathlon 2.4km pursuit

With more bad weather forecast for Monday, organisers decided to revamp the entire alpine skiing programme, moving up the technical events.

The slalom will now take place on Sunday and Monday and the giant slalom for Tuesday and Wednesday, with the speed races now set for the end of the week.

That will mean all seven British skiers will see the Whistler Creekside run on Sunday with sit-skiers Russell Docker, Tim Farr, Sean Rose, Talan Skeels-Piggins, Jane Sowerby and Anna Turney and visually impaired skier Kelly Gallagher, competing with guide Claire Robb, all in action in the slalom.

The first medal of the Games came in the biathlon as Russia's Irek Zaripov won the men's 2.4km pursuit - sitting event at Whistler Paralympic Park, one of eight medals, three of them gold, for the Russian biathletes.



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see also
Winter Paralympics get under way
13 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport
Team GB ready for Paralympics
11 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport


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