China's new curling coach focused on Olympic berth

Vancouver, July 2 (IANS) Marcel Rocque, new head coach of China's national curling programme, says his main priority as he begins his tenure is ensuring the women's team qualifies for February's Sochi Olympics.

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

The Chinese women's team, who won a bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics here, 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.

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