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British rink able to use defeat as incentive in semi-finals, says Ewan

GREGOR Ewan has acknowledged that a final round-robin defeat could be the wake-up call Great Britain's wheelchair curlers need if they are to reinvigorate their campaign in Sochi.

Indeed, they were perhaps lucky yesterday to guarantee their place among the medal matches at these Winter Paralympics.

The British rink fought back from 6-2 down to defeat the United States 8-7 after an extra end in the morning and a win over China a few hours later would have sealed their place in the semi-finals. Instead, they slumped to a 6-3 loss on sheet A at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, which left them facing the prospect of a tiebreaker if Slovakia were to beat already-qualified Russia on sheet B.

However, a strong final end from the Russians secured a 7-4 win over the Slovaks and ensured that Britain qualified in fourth place for tomorrow's semi-finals. There the rink will face the host nation which bailed them out.

Another loss would not end hopes of a first wheelchair curling medal since Turin 2006, as the losing semi-finalists will go on to compete for the bronze.

Ewan - who is making his Winter Paralympic debut - is hopeful the defeat by China could spur the British rink into action against Russia. "It is fantastic to get through; that is what we have trained for the last year and that is what our goal was," he said.

"It is always good to win the last game but at the same time it is good to have a kick in the teeth so you can refocus and come back stronger. Against Russia in the round-robin stage we ended up chasing them but, hopefully, we can turn that around and force them to play hard shots and help us have easy shots."

Having achieved their pre-Sochi goal of making the last four, skip Neilson acknowledged her rink will cherish their success before taking on Russia in front of their home support.

"Russia have a strong team but I am sure we can match them," she said. "They have huge support but we have some people here cheering us on and lots of people back home too."

Sainsbury's is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information, visit: www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids

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