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Canada's wheelchair curlers win gold

March 18 2006
CBC Sports

Canada won the first-ever Paralympic wheelchair curling gold medal by defeating Great Britain 7-4 in Saturday's final in Turin, Italy.

The Canadian team, made up of skip Chris Daw, third Gerry Austgarden, second Gary Cormack, lead Sonja Gaudet and alternate Karen Blachford jumped to an early lead, scoring two in the first end.

Great Britain answered with three in the second before the teams traded one-point ends, giving the British a 4-3 lead going into the fifth end.

With his last stone of the fifth, Daw faced a crowded house with six stones inside the four-foot. The Canadian skip played a delicate angle-raise, tapping a British stone off the button to count three and give Canada a 6-4 lead.

In the sixth and final end, Great Britain had three stones in the house for skip Frank Duffy's final shot. Duffy needed only to remove Canada's shot stone to score three and win the gold. But he missed the open takeout, handing Canada a steal of one and the 7-4 win.

"I've played that shot 100 times before," Duffy told the Canadian Press. "It just wasn't to be. It's a tough way to lose but that's curling."

Wheelchair curling made its Paralympic debut in Turin. The sport generally follows the same rules as Olympic curling, with a few notable exceptions: games consist of six ends rather than 10; teams must include both male and female players; rocks are thrown from halfway down the sheet; players may use an extender cue to deliver their rocks and sweeping is not allowed.

Sweden won the bronze medal with a 10-2 win over Norway on Friday.

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