Junshiro Kobayashi finishes first in the qualification
It was not really a pleasant day for the qualification in Innsbruck. Steady rain and strong wind gusts made the first day on the Bergisel-hill a tough one. At the end, Junshiro Kobayashi took a well-deserved win with 131 m and 145.9 points. Right behind him, the duel for the overall win of the 66th 4-Hills-Tournament entered round 3: Kamil Stoch was second (142.8 points) and Richard Freitag third (142.4 points).
The weather forecast had already made it clear this morning: The qualification day in Innsbruck would not be easy. At the end of the workday, at 3:46 pm CET, everyone could be happy that one training round and the qualification, with some delays and a 15-minute break, could be held today.
From a sporting point of view, the day brought some insights, because the duel for the overall title between leader Kamil Stoch and second-placed Richard Freitag will continue. The two top favorites came in second and third behind today's winner Junshiro Kobayashi. It was a bit wet in the first training round, but after the break in the qualification, it was okay. It was not easy, but it was nice that we could jump today", Richard Freitag explained after the qualification.
The jury received a lot of praise for how the training and the qualification were carried out on such a difficult day. "I think it was good that the jury really waited to see the development of the wind conditions minute after minute. After the break, it went really well. Actually, the hill here suits me pretty well. I'm very satisfied with my jumps here so far", said Markus Eisenbichler, who came in sixth. The German team of head coach Werner Schuster showed yet another strong performance with Karl Geiger and Stephan Leyhe in 12th, Andreas Wellinger in 14th, youngster Constantin Schmid in 18th and Pius Paschke in 27th, all on board for the competition on Thursday.
Austria's Stefan Kraft seems to have recovered from his defeat in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The athlete from Salzburg finished fifth and was back where he belongs. "The jump in the training round was okay already, in the qualification I could further improve my performance. Of course, my self-confidence could be better, but I know that I can jump well. Now it's about gaining self-confidence again with each jump and then I'm confident that it will work well for me", said Kraft.
Poland's Dawid Kubacki (4th) and Stefan Hula (8th) were also strong again. The team around overall leader Kamil Stoch is slowly but surely getting in a fantastic position for the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, starting about four weeks from now. Maciej Kot is the only one who is currently struggling with his shape a bit. Obviously, Adam Malysz is satisfied with the team: "We are satisfied. Kamil is not in top shape, but in a very good shape. I think the best is yet to come. We hope, that he will be in his best shape at the Olympic Games. If somebody has already won two competitions, then he can also win in Innsbruck and Bischofshofen. But we have to wait and see, the others don't sleep either."
The third competition of the 66th 4-Hills-Tournament starts on Thursday at 2 pm CET.