The revised Gyeonggi Province lineup skipped by Gim Eun-ji (Photo: Anil Mungal/GSOC) lead the women's side at the 2022 Korean Curling Championships with five straight victories.
By: Cameron Sallaj
Despite entering the 2022 Korean Curling Championships in Jincheon as the second seeded team, Gyeonggi Province have taken control of the women's side heading into the final day of round robin. The team, skipped by Gim Eun-ji, won a pivotal game in draw 11 against the top ranked Kim Eun-jung rink from Gangneung to sit 5-0 in the standings and in control of their destiny heading into the last round robin draw.
Seven women's teams began their quest for the 2022 Korean Curling Championships title on June 10th with the event scheduled to run until the 17th. The women's teams have all played five round robin games with one remaining in the preliminary round robin stage. The most recent draw 11 featured the biggest matchup of the round robin between Gangenung City Hall's Kim Eun-jung and Gyeonggi Province's Gim Eun-ji. Both teams sat tied with four straight wins heading into the game, meaning the winner of the match would take control of the women's standings.
Gyeonggi Province, with skip Gim Eun-ji, third Kim Min-ji, second Kim Su-ji, lead Seol Ye-eun, and alternate Seol Ye-ji got on the board in the first end with a big score of three. Gangneung City Hall responded with a deuce in the second end before Gyeonggi got one back in the third.
The Gim rink took a single point steal in the fourth end to lead by three. They then extended their lead to 7-2 at the break following a heavy draw by Kim Eun-jung on her final stone.
Team Kim got two back in the sixth end to make it a 7-4 game, with Gim taking another in the seventh. Following a blank in the eighth, Gangneung City Hall made the game a close affair by scoring a huge three points in the ninth end to tighten the score. Gyeonggi Province still led by one, however, and had the final stone in the tenth end.
The hammer shot would prove to be the difference in this match between the two powerhouse rinks. Facing one, Gim ensured the victory for her team with a soft-weight takeout to count two and record the 10-7 win.
Gyeonggi Province now move into sole possession of first place with five straight wins and only one game remaining. In that game, they will take on Chuncheon City Hall's Ha Seung-youn, which is the former team of Gyeonggi's new vice Kim Min-ji. If the Gim rink are able to win the game, they will be the number one seed heading into the playoff round. Chuncheon City Hall are currently 4-1 and tied for second, meaning they could also grab first place if they are able to win.
Gyeonggi Province revised their lineup before the final two Grand Slams of the season by adding Kim Min-ji as the team's new third. This shifted Kim Su-ji, Seol Ye-eun and Seol Ye-ji down the lineup to second, lead, and alternate respectively. So far, the team has seen positive results since their revision as in just their second event together, they reached the final of the 2022 Champions Cup where they lost to Kerri Einarson. This week at the Korean Curling Championships, they lead the women's field and only need a few more victories in order to secure the national title.
Gangneung City Hall, with skip Kim Eun-jung, third Kim Kyeong-ae, second Kim Cho-hi, lead Kim Seon-yeong and alternate Kim Yeong-mi now sit tied with Chuncheon City Hall with a 4-1 record. Having beat Chuncheon in their first game, however, they hold the head-to-head edge. The Kim rink will take on Bongmyeong High School (Kim Min-seo) in their final round robin game.
Kim Eun-jung and her teammates made the move from Uiseong to Gangneung partway through the 2020-21 curling season. In July 2021, the team won the 2021 national title and the right to represent Korea at all international competitions during the season. Their results included a silver medal at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships, qualifying for the Olympics at the Olympic Qualification Event, eighth place at the 2022 Winter Olympics, and a silver medal at the 2022 World Women's Curling Championship. This week, they hope to retain their title and not let their two year reign as national champions come to an end.
The winners of the 2022 Korean Curling Championships will represent Korea at the 2022 Pan-Continental Curling Championships in attempts to reach the 2023 World Championships.