Chinese duo Cao/Yuan knocked out from Curling World Cup Grand Final
Wang Meng, Hu Shi Chen
China's Cao Chang and Yuan Mingjie have been knocked out and won't reach the final of the Curling World Cup. The early elimination serves as a reminder that the host nation faces a tough task in the run-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics.
After opening the competition in Group A with a loss to Canada's Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres at the Curling World Cup's Grand Final, Chinese mixed doubles duo Cao Chang and Yuan Mingjie bounced back to grab an upset win over last year's world champions, Michele Jaeggi and Sven Michel of Switzerland.
"In our second contest, we felt better about the venue and competition than on the first time," Cao said. “As a new team, we want to try our best, and learn from our opponents."
Cao and Yuan have only been curling together since January, but quickly bonded while competing at events in both China and Europe, before emerging as the host nation's top pairing ahead of the Grand Final.
"We really enjoy ourselves. Even though we are not the best in this event, we loosened up a little bit, and focused on having fun. But we also want to show what we can do," Yuan said.
The Chinese tandem's optimism after shocking the Swiss squad was soon dashed, however, when they fell to the USA's Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin. So one step forward, but the search for consistency continues.
"I think we need more time to start playing as a cohesive team," Yuan noted. "We are also quite inexperienced compared to other teams like Canada, so we need to learn from each result. But I'm satisfied with our performance in this event, so far, as everything is leaning positive."
But to really make an impact at the 2022 Winter Olympics, China's mixed curlers will need to juggle a short preparation period, and an even shorter learning curve against some of the best combinations on the planet.