Maciej Kot in top shape
Poland's Maciej Kot won the first qualification of the Ski Jumping winter season 2016/17. With a jump of 141.5 m (149.3 points) Kot could follow up on his outstanding performances last summer. Behind Kot, Dawid Kubacki (138 m; 147.3 points) secured the double victory for the Polish team of head coach Stefan Horngacher. Austria's Manuel Fettner (139.5 m; 144.3 points) finished third.
Polish team strong, all Germans qualified
The Polish athletes presented themselves in an extremely strong shape under temperatures of - 4 °C and good wind conditions. Besides Kot and Kubacki, Kamil Stoch (5th) and Klemens Muranka (13th) also came in among the best.
The German team seems to be in a good shape as well: Best German athlete was Markus Eisenbichler in seventh (135 m), Karl Geiger (9th), Andreas Wellinger (20th), Stephan Leyhe (25th) and David Siegel (34th) had no problems to qualify for the competition. Severin Freund and Richard Freiag are pre-qualified.
Youngster Domen Prevc of Slovenia showed a strong performance. The younger brother of superstar Peter Prevc came in fourth in the qualification. After today's performance Domen Prevc is one of the top contenders for a podium result in Ruka.
Pre-qualified Peter Prevc had some solid jumps, but it seems he is not yet in the outstanding shape of last winter.
Six Finns failed to qualify
The team of Finland had a tough start today. Only two of the 8 competitors of Suomi qualified for the competition. Veteran Janne Ahonen (23rd) and Lauri Asikainen (30th) will be competing on Friday. The other six Finnish athletes failed to make the cut.
Norway's Daniel Andre Tande and Czech Roman Koudelka had the best jumps of the group of the already pre-qualified athletes. Both are now among the favorites for the two following competitions.
Strong Polish team - finally
At the World Cup opener in Kuusamo (FIN), the Polish team. lead by Austrian Stefan Horngacher as the new head coach, could follow up on the strong performances they showed in summer.
This is the message of this winter's first qualification. After the Poles were clearly behind the best at the beginning of the winter in the recent years - after strong results in summer - the athletes around Maciej Kot and Kamil Stoch are among the best this time. The Polish team will provide excitement during the course of the upcoming World Cup season, that became clear already after the first qualification of the winter.
The first of two competitions in Ruka starts on Friday at 5:00 pm CET.