First win in the GP for Anders Fannemel
Norway's Anders Fannemel won the first of two competitions of the FIS Grand Prix 2016 in Hakuba (JPN). With two jumps of 129 m and a total of 257.6 points Fannemel came in ahead of local hero Taku Takeuchi and Andreas Wellinger of Germany.
This was the first win in the FIS Grand Prix for Fannemel, after he was already second in Wisla (POL) this summer. "Today I could really improve my performance from the training in the competition. I will try to jump on the same level again on Sunday and hopefully I'll be able to fight for the win again. I didn't take part in every competition this summer in order save my strength, but the Grand Prix is still very important for me", Fannemel told after his success.
For local hero Taku Takeuchi, who lives only about one hour's drive from Hakuba, the second place in his first competition this summer was also a big success. Takeuchi (129 m and 128.5 m; 252.5 points) finished only 5.1 points behind the winner. "Honestly I didn't expect that it would go that well for me in a competition against the world's elite. But I trained very well over the past weeks and it seems that it pays off", said Takeuchi.
Clearly behind Fannemel and Takeuchi, Andreas Wellinger could celebrate the third place in today's competition. He jumped on 122 m and 127.5 m and scored 239.3 points. "Tomorrow I'll try to get a bit closer to the top, but I'm very satisfied with my third place. Hopefully it'll go just as well tomorrow and Anders and I can score many points. Then we would have an exciting fight for the overall title in Hinzenbach and Klingenthal with Maciej Kot."
In this high-class competition it was very close behind the Top 3. Czech Tomas Vancura (236.5 points) in eighth was only 2.8 points behind Wellinger. Karl Geiger came in fourth and showed a convincing performance, just like the two Japanese Daiki Ito and youngster Ryoyu Kobayashi in fifth and sixth. Norway's Joachim Hauer tied for sixth with Kobayashi.
The 12th place of Jarkko Maeaettae provided a ray of hope for the Finnish team. Maeaettae, who won a COC competition in Kuopio last weekend, could have achieved an even better result with a better second jump. But at least a Finn was again within striking distance of the best.
US American Kevin Bickner left yet another strong impression. Bickner, who gained some attention with his first ever Top 10 result in Einsiedeln, confirmed his very good shape in 16th.
The competition didn't end the way the Austrian team would have hoped. Markus Schiffner and Andi Kofler in 28th and 29th were the only ones who could score points for the Austrians. In absence of Stefan Kraft and Michael Hayboeck, the other five members of the team failed to make the cut for the final round of the Top 30.
Maciej Kot still leads in the overall ranking of the Grand Prix with 380 points, Andreas Wellinger follows in second with 256 points.
The second competition in Hakuba takes place on Sunday at 3:00 am CET.