Andreas Kofler wins qualification in Sapporo
The World Cup weekend in Japan started with the qualification on the Okurayama hill in Sapporo on Friday. The best in this round was Andreas Kofler, followed by Tomaz Naglic and Danny Queck.
The 29-year-old Austrian won the qualification with a jump on 130.5 m and 130.0 points. "I enjoy being here in Japan and it's always something special for me to be in Sapporo. This weekend is important for me and that's why I'm very happy about this jump in the qualification", Kofler, who is still fighting for his spot on the Olympic team, said to FISskijumping.com.
Tomaz Naglic also jumped on 130.5 m and took the second place with 125.9 points, ahead of Danny Queck of Germany who scored 125.1 points with his jump on 126 m.
The longest jump of the qualification was shown by Norwegian Robert Johansson with 131 m, but due to better wind conditions the 23-year-old was only fifth, behind Antonin Hajek of the Czech Republic.
Gregor Deschwaden of Switzerland was sixth, followed by the best of the Japanese, Reruhi Shimizu, who shared the seventh place with Slovenia's Jernej Damjan. Yuta Watase of Japan and young French Ronan Lamy Chappuis completed the Top 10 on Friday.
Nejc Dezman of Slovenia and Germany's Markus Eisenbichler, who both won two COC competitions in Sapporo last weekend, had no problems to qualify for Saturday's competition in 11th and 12th.
Also Nico Polychronidis of Greece (30th), Estonian Siim-Tanel Sammelselg (32nd) and Sorin Iulian Pitea of Romania (34th) made the cut for the competition.
In absence of some of the top jumpers, like Kamil Stoch, Gregor Schlierenzauer, Anders Bardal and Simon Ammann, Michael Neumayer of Germany (122.5 m) and Slovenia's Robert Kranjec (121.5 m) showed the longest jumps of the pre-qualified athletes.
The first of two indivdiual competitions in Sapporo will take place on Saturday at 8:30 pm CET (trial round: 7:30 am CET).