First win for Phillip Sjoeen in Hakuba
Phillip Sjoeen of Norway won the first of two FIS Grand Prix competitions in Hakuba, Japan. The 18-year-old scored a total of 277.5 points with his jumps on 125 m and 131 m and came in six points ahead of Slovenia's Jernej Damjan.
The veteran jumped on 129 m and 128 m and prevented another Norwegian double victory by finishing 2.1 points ahead of Daniel-Andre Tande. Damjan told afterwards: “I like Hakuba and Hakuba likes me. It was a good competition. My second jump was not perfect, but I'm satisfied. I don't have problems with the long trip and the time difference, I'm an old guy and used to that.”
First podium for Tande
Sjoeen's 20-year-old teammate Tande landed at 128.5 m and 127.5 m. After his second place in Courchevel last weekend, this was the first win in the Grand Prix for Sjoeen. Tande achieved his first ever podium result in this summer series. “Of course I'm very happy. My jumps are getting better and better. I want to continue on this level also in winter, my goal is the World Championships”, Sjoeen said. And Tande added: “I'm extremely happy. It's fun to jump on this hill. The long trip to Japan is not easy, I didn't sleep a lot and that made it difficult.”
Despite the longest jump of the day on 132.5 m and 130 m in the final, local hero Taku Takeuchi missed the podium and came in fourth with 266.4 points. German veteran Michael Neumayer finished on a good fifth place. The athlete of Berchtesgaden jumped on 128.5 m and 126.5 m and scored 259.8 points.
Good results for Asikainen and Niemi
Slovene Matjaz Pungertar was sixth with 256.5 points, Lauri Asikainen achieved a good result for Finland in seventh, 1.5 points behind Pungertar. “I'm really satisfied. I made a huge progress in Courchevel already and now here as well”, the Finn told. Shohei Tochimoto (251.5 points) in eighth and Noriaki Kasai (247.4 points) in tenth provided a good result for the Japanese team. Simon Ammann could not take a big advantage of the absence of many top athletes and came in ninth (249.0 points).
With Sami Niemi in eleventh another Finn achieved a good result today. Germany's Markus Eisenbichler might be able to earn more starts in the Grand Prix with his 12th place. Jakub Wolny was the best of the Polish team in 13th, Junshiro Kobayashi and Russia's Vladislav Boyarintsev completed the Top 15. This was a career-best for Boyarintsev in the Grand Prix.
Geiger not yet satisfied
Just like Reruhi Shimizu (17th), also Swiss Gregor Deschwanden (21st) and Germany's Karl Geiger (22nd) are currently not in their best shape. Geiger told: “I didn't do that well on this hill so far and I wanted more. When you see who is not competing here you think that the field is not that strong. But you can also see how many strong jumpers they have in Japan.” Austrian Clemens Aigner seized his opportunity, qualified for the final round in his first ever appearance in the Grand Prix and finished 27th. “I'm satisfied that I reached the second round. In the second competition I want to attack again.”
The second competition in Hakuba will take place on Sunday at 3:00 am CET.