Double victory for Japan in Hakuba
Kento Sakuyama won a FIS Grand Prix competition for the first time. In front of his home crowd in Hakuba, the Japanese, who was already third on Saturday, won with jumps on 130.5 m and 127 m and 265.2 points ahead of his teammate Taku Takeuchi and Czech Jakub Janda.
"Yesterday I was nervous because it was an international competition at home, but I got used to it and I was more relaxed today and made two good jumps. I'm very happy that I can be on the podium together with Taku. I'm jumping better than last winter, my jumps are more consistent and I'm stronger mentally. I gained experiences competing in the World Cup and this lead to the good results this summer. I would like to continue jumping like that in winter and get even stronger so I can win a medal at the Olympics in PyeongChang", told the winner.
Takeuchi, who was on the podium for the first time this summer, jumped on 128.5 m and 127 m and came in 11.7 points behind his teammate. "It has been been a while for me since I was participating in an international competition. Because of the new rules I was a bit nervous and I couldn't jump as well as in training. However, it was nice to finish 1st and 2nd with my teammate from the Kitano Ski Team. It 's a great experience."
Janda, with 125.5 m only 11th after the first round, moved up to third with 125 m in the final and 245.2 points and achieved his first podium result in the Grand Prix in two years. The Czech said: "In training and in the first competition I had problems with the inrun position, my speed was not good enough. I analyzed that with my coach and it was better today. The first jump was not that good, I was a bit late at the take-off. The second jump was my best this season. I'm in a good shape and I was 1 km/h faster today than yesterday. Ten years ago I could win here twice, yesterday I was third to last, today I was third. I like that better. In Japan I always have problems with the time difference, I only slept for three hours last night and I don't have much energy now. I will not go to Chaikovsky, maybe I'll compete in Almaty."
Maeaettae closely misses podium
Finland's Jarkko Maeaettae closely missed his first podium result. With jumps on 125 m and 122.5 m, Maeaettae, who was second after the first round, came in fourth with 244.4 points. Robert Kranjec, second on Saturday, jumped on 121 m and 125 m and was fifth with 244.1 points. Two points behind Kranjec, Simon Ammann was sixth, ahead of Lukas Hlava (241.5 points). Yesterday's winner Michael Neumayer finished eighth with 239.3 points.
Jan Matura (236.6 points) and Anze Semenic (234.1 points) completed the Top 10.
Kasai not in the Top 10
Noriaki Kasai and Yumu Harada closely missed the Top 10 this time and came in 11th and 12th, ahead of Lauri Asikainen, Denis Kornilov and Nejc Dezman.
Markus Eisenbichler can not be satisfied with how the weekend in Japan went for him, but after his 28th place he could at least improve his result on Sunday and was 16th. Korean Seou Choi repeated his 19th place from Saturday. Canadian Dusty Korek and US American Kevin Bickner scored Grand Prix points for the first time in 29th and 30th.
Sakuyama takes Yellow Bib
Kento Sakuyama now took the lead in the overall ranking with his total of 346 points, ahead of Severin Freund (280 points) and Dawid Kubacki (249 points). Because both, Freund and Kubacki, will probably not be competing anymore this summer, Slovenia's Peter Prevc (171 points) in fourth and Jarkko Maeaettae (156 points), might be Sakuyama's main opponents.
The next competitions will be held next weekend in Chaikovsky, Russia.