Japanese double victory in the qualification
In the heavy rain of Hakuba, Taku Takeuchi won the qualification for the first competition of the FIS Grand Prix 2016 in Japan. With two outstanding jumps under sweltering temperatures, Takeuchi already showed in the official training rounds that he would be the one to beat today.
Takeuchi, who, like his teammates Daiki Ito and Noriaki Kasai, is competing for the first time this summer, jumped on 129 m and scored 124.6 points. Daiki Ito and Noriaki Kasai also presented themselves in a great shape and finished second (Ito) and fifth (Kasai).
Also Ryoyu Kobayashi of the Team Nippon, who is already pre-qualified, showed a convincing jump of 126.5 m. The athletes of Japan will definitely have to be reckoned with this weekend.
Daniel Andre Tande made a strong comeback after his break due to injury. Like Takeuchi, Tande did very well in the official training, that was carried out under dry weather conditions. In the qualification Tande showed a jump of 125.5 m and came in third with 120.5 points.
Norway's Halvor Egner Granerud (131.5 m) and Austrian Clemens Aigner (129 m) showed convincing performances as well. Both youngsters are pre-qualified and can be considered among the favorites for this weekend's competitions after their jumps today.
It didn't go as well as expected for the German team. With Andreas Wellinger (103 m) and Andreas Wank (107 m), the two best-ranked athletes in the overall Grand Prix standings are on the team of head coach Werner Schuster in Hakuba. But Wank and Wellinger had to jump under the heaviest rain and tail-wind at the end of the round and so both landed at the bottom of the field of the pre-qualified athletes. It wasn't required for them to show an outstanding performance today as they are both pre-qualified and, compared to today, they are definitely capable of doing a lot better in the competitions.
With two wins in Hakuba, Wellinger (196 points) would take the overall lead in the Grand Prix from the current leader Maciej Kot of Poland (380 points), who is not competing in Hakuba.
The first competition will start on Saturday at 11:30 am CET (trial round at 10:30 am CET).
As already decided at the team captain's meeting today, there will not be a qualification for Sunday's competition. Because only 50 athletes will be participating, there will be a trial round held instead.