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Interview: China's new curling coach focused on Olympic berths

By Al Campbell (Xinhua)

08:25, July 03, 2013

VANCOUVER, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Marcel Rocque, new head coach of China's national curling program, says his main priority as he begins his tenure is in ensuring the women's team qualifies for next February's Sochi Olympics.

With the China men's team having already qualified for Russia by virtue of a sixth-place finish at the world championship in April, the women's squad led by skip Wang Bingyu, the 2009 world champion, will be looking to join them with a successful showing at the final Olympic qualifier in December.

The Chinese women's team, who won a bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the country's first curling medal, will be among seven nations in Fuessen, Germany, fighting for the final two spots to be among the 10 nations qualifying for the Games.

"They're definitely skilled and I'm not sure why in the last few years they've underperformed, but that's my focus is to try to figure out what is causing them to underperform," said Rocque, a 42-year-old Canadian who was hired by the China Curling Association in June on a 10-month contract to oversee the men's and women's national teams, as well as three junior teams.

"I'm going in last minute trying to make some changes that might help them make small steps and small strides. Having said that, they've had success already so I'm hoping there are minor things I can bring that can make some big differences."

Edmonton native Rocque, a physical education teacher who has coached from the junior to national team levels in Canada, comes into the job with impressive credentials. As the lead on the Randy Ferbey rink, he won men's world championship titles three times, in addition to capturing the Brier, Canada's national championship, on four occasions.

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