• Kyodo

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Japan came up short in the final but took two-time defending champion Switzerland all the way before settling for the silver medal after a 9-6 defeat at the World Women’s Curling Championship on Sunday.

The silver was Japan’s first medal in curling in either the Olympics or world championships and skip Satsuki Fujisawa said she was proud of the team’s achievement.

“I am proud that we were able to get to the final and hope we can come back again next year,” said Fujisawa.

Fujisawa scored a triple as Japan came from behind to take a 6-5 lead in the eighth end but the Swiss regained the advantage to go 7-6 up heading into the final end.

Japan had an easy draw to force extra ends in the 10th but Fujisawa’s last stone went long, with Switzerland earning a steal of two and capturing the title for the third time in a row.

“It is the skip’s job to get a draw and I feel responsible for not being able to do that,” said Fujisawa. “I feel really bad for the team. I have to build up more experience and become a stronger skip.”

Lead Yurika Yoshida was not too downhearted by the defeat, however.

“I am happy that we were able to play right until the very end,” she said. “We might have lost but it was a happy, enjoyable time. I can’t put into words what a great stage this was (to be on).”

Second Yumi Suzuki had mixed feelings about the result.

“I feel half delighted and half disappointed,” said Suzuki. “I want to become a player that can throw more solidly.”

Japan’s LS Kitami team of Fujisawa, Chinami Yoshida, Yurika Yoshida and Suzuki was defeated by Switzerland in the 1-2 Page playoff on Friday, but set themselves up for a rematch on the final day of the March 19-27 competition by topping the Russians in Saturday’s semifinal.

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