Murdoch's men pull off dramatic win

Hampshire Chronicle: David Murdoch led Great Britain to victory against Norway David Murdoch led Great Britain to victory against Norway

David Murdoch pulled off a final-stone double take-out to earn Britain's men a place in the curling semi-finals, while Elise Christie stormed into the quarter-finals of the short track 1000 metres on day 11 of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Murdoch's high-pressure stone secured a last-end 6-5 tie-break win over Norway and a semi-final meeting with Sweden on Friday, when Britain's women will also be in last-four action against Canada.

Meanwhile, Christie put her troubles behind her with an impressive victory in her 1000m heat, starting cautiously at the back of the field and then making her move to lead and skate away from her rivals.

It was just the confidence booster the 23-year-old Scot needed after a traumatic start to her Games, which saw her disqualified from the 500 metres final, suffer threatening messages on social media and fail to finish her 1500m heat.

Murdoch's all-Scottish curling rink, one of the main British hopes for a medal in Sochi, had been beaten by the Norwegians in their round-robin fixture.

And Murdoch's men played catch-up for most of the game, until his brilliant final stone in the 10th end secured two game-winning points.

Murdoch's final throw, a tricky double take-out, came after a tension-building time-out, where Swedish coach Soren Gran came on to the ice to help the British rink decide whether to go for the shot or hand advantage back to the Norwegians at the extra end.

Murdoch described the win as ''incredible'' and admitted the delivery ''will certainly go up there as one of my best".

He said: ''I stood back and saw there was a shot for two and once we'd seen that, we were always going to go for it.

''Sometimes you just have to go for it. You have to trust everything you have done previously, all your practice shots, everything you have done all week.

''We had the courage to go for it and were confident we were going to take it. I have played those guys a hundred times and the chances of stealing an extra end is very slim. So, as hard as the shot was, we had to go for it."

Britain will face either China or Canada if they beat the Swedes on Wednesday night - 1900 local time (1500GMT).

Christie, who will now switch her focus to Friday night when she renews her bid for a medal in the 1000m quarter-finals, stressed how the support she has had from people back home brought the smile back to her face when she was at her lowest ebb.

She said: ''Obviously I spent a few days feeling quite down and struggling psychologically. I came here to train yesterday and found that really difficult, it was quite emotional.

''I was then told about all the good support back home and that really boosted me. I smiled for the first time in a while when I heard that and I can't get across how thankful I am because I was considering not getting back on, and the support I have had is what has pushed me to get back on and do that.''

Asked if she had seriously considered pulling out, Christie said: ''I did after the 1500. I thought, 'I don't want to do this' but I would never pull out really because I always have that grit in me that keeps me carrying on. But I was feeling pretty low, the lowest I have felt in my career.''

There was mixed fortune for Team GB in the men's 500m heats, with Jon Eley going through to Friday's quarter-finals while Jack Whelbourne missed out.

Eley, the British flagbearer at the opening ceremony in Sochi, was up against home hopeful and 1000m Olympic champion Victor An in heat five but followed the Russian through for second place, clocking 41.554 seconds.

Whelbourne, competing in heat four, came home fourth in a time of 42.513secs.

Murray Buchan and James Machon were set to make their Olympic debuts for Britain in freestyle skiiing's men's halfpipe competition in Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, with qualification starting at 1745 local time (1345GMT).

The women's bobsleigh was also due to get under way, with Britain's Paula Walker and Bex Wilson in action at the Sanki Sliding Center with their first run starting at 1915 (1515GMT).

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