Fresh off its surprise silver medal at the PyeongChang Winter Games, the South Korean women's curling team will try to repeat its Olympic success at the upcoming world championship.
Led by skip Kim Eun-jung, South Korea left for North Bay, Canada, on Wednesday for the March 17-25 World Women's Curling Championship. "Team Kim" also includes Kim Yeong-mi, Kim Kyeong-ae, Kim Seon-yeong and Kim Cho-hi. The same members competed at the PyeongChang Olympics, where they took down one giant after another en route to taking the silver medal. It was South Korea's first medal ever in Olympic curling.
Their improbable march to the gold medal match, where they lost to Sweden, made these Kims darlings of the Olympics. Kim Yeong-mi, South Korea's lead, admitted her team will be competing under the kind of expectations that it has never known before.
Members of the South Korean women`s curling team pose for pictures before leaving Incheon International Airport on March 14, 2018, for North Bay, Canada, where they will compete at the World Women`s Curling Championship. From left: Kim Cho-hi, Kim Kyeong-ae, Kim Yeong-mi, head coach Kim Min-jung, Kim Seon-yeong and skip Kim Eun-jung. (Yonhap)
"With so many people taking interest in curling, I feel like there's pressure on us to do well at the worlds," she said. "We're going to do our best."
Kim Eun-jung, the skip, added: "We'll just take it one match at a time, without worrying about results too much."
South Korea has never won a medal at the women's curling world championship, which began in 1979. Last year, South Korea finished sixth.
Sweden will also field the same team that it had for the Olympics, with skip Anna Hasselborg leading the way. Russia, forced to compete under the label "Olympic Athletes from Russia" due to its doping scandal, will also have the Olympic squad in action.
Canada won the 2017 world title with skip Rachel Homan but will have a different team this time, as Jennifer Jones, the 2014 Olympic champion, will be back in charge as skip.
Homan's team didn't even make it out of the round-robin stage at the PyeongChang Olympics, as Canada failed to win a medal in women's curling for the first time since it became a medal sport in 1998.
Other Olympic participants, such as China, Denmark, Switzerland and the United States, will also have different skips for the world championship.
In total, 13 nations will be in action in the round robin. The top two countries after the round-robin play will advance directly to the semifinals. Teams seeded three through six will collide in the qualification matches, with the winners reaching the semifinals.
South Korea's first round-robin game will be against Germany on Saturday.(Yonhap)