Women's Curling Team Destroy Japan on Olympic Debut

Korea's Olympic curling team are writing a new chapter in the nation's sportig history in Russia this week.

The women's team, consisting of skipper Kim Ji-sun, Gim Un-chi, Lee Seul-bee and Shin Mi-sung won their first round-robin match against Japan 12-7 at the Ice Cube Curling Center in Sochi for their Olympic debut on Tuesday.

The team earned a berth at the Games by advancing to the semifinals in the 2012 World Championships.

Later in the day they put up a strong fight against Switzerland but lost 8-6 despite a late rally.

Skipper Kim Ji-sun releases the rock during the womens curling competition against Japan at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia. /AP-Newsis Skipper Kim Ji-sun releases the rock during the women's curling competition against Japan at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia. /AP-Newsis

Curling is fairly new to Korea, having only been introduced to the country in 1994. It has a very limited base in the country with just 600 registered athletes. But the sport has developed quickly over such a short span of time. Dexterity and quick thinking are more important than physical strength in curling, making it a good fit for Korean athletes.

The women's team are now riding the momentum of their strong start and aiming for a podium finish. Ten teams play in the robin round format, and only the top four advance to the semifinals. At this stage, the No. 1 team will face the fourth-placed team, with the remaining two making up the other tie. The losers of these two games will compete for bronze.

Canada, where curling is considered as a national sport, and Sweden, which won gold in 2006 and 2010, are considered favorites for the title.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 12, 2014 09:42 KST