Jan Matura wins difficult competition
The Okurayama-hill in Sapporo once again lived up to its reputation when it comes to unpredictable weather conditions. The weather changed from one minute to the next on the second day of competition in Sapporo. There was everything from blue skies to heavy snowfall, in combination with winds from different directions. The sometimes very heavy snowfall caused various interruptions and some famous names failed to make the cut for the final round.
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But like already on Saturday, the best athlete in the field was ahead in the end: Czech Jan Matura proved his top shape at the moment with his second win. Behind Matura, Robert Kranjec of Slovenia and Andreas Wank of Germany came in second and third.
With jumps on 132.5 m and 133 m Matura could impressively confirm yesterday's performance, when he took his first ever win in the World Cup. "It's unbelievable, somehow I think I'm dreaming. It was really tough today and the conditions were very difficult. I made two good jumps, had some luck and I enjoyed it. I'm in a really good shape and I think that I can also do well in the upcoming ski flying competitions."
The second place went to Slovenia's Robert Kranjec, who was already third the day before. "The conditions were really difficult today. It was sunny, then it was snowing heavily and there was also wind. It was very difficult today and it was a long competition. In my first jump I didn't have a lot of speed because there was snow in the inrun, but I showed two good jumps and I'm very happy with the result", told Kranjec, who is now one of the top favorites for the ski flying events next weekend in Vikersund.
Andreas Wank showed two good jumps on 135 m and 136 m (241.0 points) and achieved his second podium result in the World cup. "I had some luck in both rounds but my jumps are getting better and better. This gives me self-confidence and I hope it'll continue like that for me", said Wank.
Moment of shock for Daiki Ito
Japanese Daiki Ito had a moment of shock before his final jump. Ito slipped off the bar and was sliding down the inrun. The Japenese didn't suffer any injuries but was not allowed to jump again. So Ito, who was second after the first round, lost the chance to achieve a top result.
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With Martin Schmitt as tenth another German jumper finished in the Top 10. Michael Neumayer (130.5 m and 93.5 m; 168.2 points) became a victim of the conditions in the second round and finished only 26th. Severin Freund had bad luck in the first round and could not qualify for the final as 31st. "It's not fun to land at 93.5 m, but this is Sapporo and things like that can happen here", Neumayer said afterwards.
After his second place on Saturday, Norwegian Tom Hilde achieved another top result: He came in fourth. In the overall World Cup Hilde is now seventh with 454 points, not far behind Andreas Kofler (470 points) and Kamil Stoch (459 points).
Hilde's teammates Anders Jacobsen and Anders Bardal weren't as lucky today. Bardal was 28th after his first jump, last season's overall World Cup winner moved up to 15th with a strong jump in the final. "This is Sapporo, who know that when you compete here", Bardal said about his jump in the first round.
Anders Jacobsen didn't have the chance to improve in the second round: With his first jump on 105 m he was only 43rd and there was nothing but frustration about the conditions for Jacobsen. The Norwegian wanted a lot more today, after he was 14th yesterday.
The second day went better than the first one for the Austrian team. Wolfgang Loitzl, Andreas Kofler and Michael Hayboeck were not among the best, but with the places 8, 13 and 24 the team performance was a lot better today than on Saturday. "I'm satisfied with my eighth place today, the jumps were okay and considering these conditions it was a good result", Wolfgang Loitzl said after the competition.
Kamil Stoch was the best of a good Polish team as fifth. Maciej Kot (14.) David Kubacki (18.) Piotr Zyla (22.) and Krzysztof Mietus scored points for the team of head coach Lukasz Kruczek.
Gregor Schlierenzauer still leads in the overall ranking with 840 points, follwed by Anders Bardal (721 points) and Severin Freund (601 points). The World Cup continues with the two ski flying competitions in Vikersund, Norway. You can follow it all live on FISskijumping.com.