Akito Watabe Japanese national champion
The Japanese Nordic Combined athletes also used the Christmas break to find out who is the new national winter champion this year and team leader Akito Watabe walked away with the first rank and the title this week.
As many as 80 athletes finished the competition on the HS100 hill and 10 kilometre course in Naroyo in the north of Japan. In 2001 and 2004, the Nordic Combined World Cup also stopped there. Watabe won ahead of his brother Yoshito and Aguri Shimizu who is the brother of ski jumper Reruhi Shimizu. Taihei Kato came in as fourth, Daito Takahashi as fifth and Hideaki Nagai as sixth.
After a good jump, Akito Watabe had been holding the second rank after the jumping part but with a superb performance on the track and the fastest cross-country time of 25:56.1, he crossed the finish line a whopping 1 minute and 4 seconds earlier than his his brother Yoshito who had been leading after the jumping part. Aguri Shimizu came in 1:17.7 after the winner.
Many thanks to Akito Watabe for providing the complete result list (Japanese) and translating the names!