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Olympic round-up: Swiss men curling towards semi-finals

Swiss skip Andreas Schwaller directed his team to a solid win over France Keystone

The Swiss men's curling team remain on target to reach the medal rounds after dispatching France with a crucial 7-3 victory.

This content was published on February 18, 2002 - 11:40

As pressure mounts in the men’s curling competition with just one more qualifying game to be played, the Swiss team look likely to qualify for a berth in the semi-finals.

Swiss skipper Andreas Schwaller and his colleagues had little difficulty in overwhelming the French, who never mounted a serious challenge during Sunday’s contest at the Ogden ice sheet.

The Swiss scored in the second and fifth ends, before storming home with four points in the ninth and tenth.

Six wins from eight

The win puts Switzerland in fourth place overall, behind Canada, Sweden and Norway, with six wins from eight games. Only the top four teams qualify for the semi-finals.

To guarantee a spot in next week's semis, the Swiss need to win their next and final game against Germany, who are currently in fifth place after eight games.

Swiss team member Markus Eggler, from Basel, said the win had been crucial.

"There was pressure because we had to win against the French [to stay in the medal race] because we had lost against them recently," Eggler said.

"But we still have another game to win to ensure we get into the final."

Cross-country team tenth

There was less good news for the Swiss cross-country team, who were comprehensively out-gunned in the men’s 4x10 kilometre team relay.

The Swiss – Wilhelm Aschwanden, Reto Burgermeister, Patrik Maechler and Andrea Bundi - were unable to match the blistering pace of the winning team from Norway, finishing with a time of 1:37.26, over four and a half minutes behind the gold medallists.

Norway won their fifth cross-country gold of the Games in a sprint against Italy by just three-tenths of a second. The surprise bronze medallists were Germany, winning their first-ever Olympic relay medal.

The poor Swiss performance is likely to spark renewed soul-searching about Switzerland’s lack of gold-class cross-country skiers – something that will need to change if the country wins the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics in Bern.

Nordic combined

Switzerland's Nordic combined team ended the multi-discipline event in seventh place, after struggling to make up lost ground in the cross-country leg.

In the first stage of the Nordic combined on Saturday - the team ski jumping event - Switzerland's four-man crew flew into seventh place.

Their performance translated into a 2:37 handicap for Sunday's second stage - a four-by-five kilometre freestyle cross-country relay.

Despite the inspiration of Switzerland's duel gold-medallist Simon Ammann, the Swiss - Andreas Hurschier, Ronny Heer, Jan Schmid and Ivan Rieder - were unable to trouble powerhouse sides from Finland, Austria, Japan and Germany.

They completed the Soldier's Hollow course in 52:07.9, almost three and a half minutes behind overall winners Finland.

Hugentoblers in 14th place

The Swiss ice skating duo, Daniel and Eliane Hugentobler, are currently in 14th spot in the Olympic figure skating competition with 14.4 points after the original dance.

The brother and sister team were clearly pleased with their performance in Salt Lake. "We don't have anything to lose. We have a lot of energy and are really enjoying the ice skating," said Eliane.

The Swiss pair from Zug selected the popular song by Gloria Gaynor, "I will survive" to bring them good luck in the original ice dance.

Daniel (23) and Eliane (20) are using their time in Salt Lake to look at ways of improving their skating.

"Our technique can still be worked on and perhaps our skating can be more clean, plus we really need to concentrate more. But all this comes with age, and we're still young," they said. "We lack experience," they concluded.

French duo Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat are in first position with 1.0 points after winning the compulsory and original dances. Russia's Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh are second, while Italian pair Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio are in third position.

swissinfo with agencies

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