Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest and Team Canada qualified for the playoffs but finished fifth at the 2021 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Beijing. (Team Canada Photo)

Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest and Team Canada qualified for the playoffs but finished fifth at the 2021 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Beijing. (Team Canada Photo)

Spallumcheen curler helps Canada to fifth place at world finals

Ina Forrest lifts Canada to playoff round at world wheelchair championships; eliminated by the U.S.

Even with a spot in the 2022 Paralympics locked up, the finish at the Kuntai World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Beijing was not what it had hoped for by Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest and Team Canada.

Forrest and her teammates Mark Ideson, Dennis Thiessen, Jon Thurston and alternate Collinda Joseph will still take a lot of positives from its week in Beijing.

After losing to the United States in the Playoff Qualification Game, pitting fourth place vs. fifth in the round-robin for a place in the semifinal, the Canadians took some time to put everything in perspective.

Forrest, Canada’s vice-skip, and her teammates entered the play in Beijing without having played in a competitive tournament since the previous 2020 World Championships in Switzerland nearly 19 months ago.

Canada was undeniably a bit rusty entering the competition, but gained steam over the course of the week, reaching the playoffs with a 7-4 record. Once the playoff berth was earned, the Canadians knew that it was anybody’s game in a single-knockout bracket.

Unfortunately for them on Friday, Oct. 29, this game belonged to the United States.

The U.S. started the game with last rock, an advantage based on its better rank after the round-robin. After a blank in the first, the U.S. took two in the second. The two sides traded single points for the next four ends, leaving the Americans with a 4-2 lead.

In the seventh, Canada took two to tie the game at four, leaving the Americans with the hammer in the last end. After a battle over the four-foot area, Canadian fourth-rock thrower Jon Thurston came up just light on a freeze attempt, giving two points and the win to the U.S., 6-4.

China, the hosts, won the gold medal, beating Sweden 5-3 in the championship game.

READ MORE: Team Canada calls on veteran Spallumcheen curler

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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