Winter Olympics: Team GB win curling mixed doubles opener against Sweden

Jen Dodds
British pair Jen Dodds and Bruce Mouat won their opening match 9-5 against Sweden
Hosts: Beijing, China Dates: 4-20 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds; live text and highlights on BBC Sport website and mobile app

Team GB curlers Bruce Mouat and Jen Dodds won a closely fought mixed doubles opener 9-5 against Sweden as the Winter Olympics started in Beijing.

Trailing 8-5, Sweden missed a good chance to score three with their last stone and force an extra end.

Instead, victory gave the British pair the perfect start to their Olympic campaign against their fellow medal contenders.

Mouat and Dodds are in action again on Thursday (01:05 GMT) against Canada.

The teams ranked in the top four once all 10 nations have competed against each other will progress to the semi-finals.

The curling kicked off the Games in China two days before the opening ceremony, in the same arena American swimmer Michael Phelps famously won his eight gold medals in 2008.

Now transformed into the ‘Ice Cube’, the arena was sparsely populated with no tickets on sale to the general public due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, with the only cheers coming at intervals when hosts China scored on another sheet.

This is the first Olympics Great Britain has played mixed doubles, having failed to qualify four years ago when the discipline made its debut in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

However, Dodds and Mouat won the world title in Aberdeen last May and are one of the main contenders for a medal this year, with Britain hoping to beat the national record haul of five in Sochi in 2014.

But they were up against Swedish pair Almida De Val and Oscar Eriksson, world bronze medallists, and another of the favourites to win gold.

The decisive moment came in the penultimate end, when the Swedes hit Mouat’s guarding stone with their last to give the Scottish pair a score of three and an 8-5 lead heading into the last.

Even then, De Val had the chance to snatch three of their own with her final shot, but her draw attempt sailed through the house and out of play to secure a point for Britain and victory.

Dodds and Mouat play twice on Thursday, first against the Canadians and then against Switzerland (12:05 GMT) as they look to build on a positive start.

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