Piotr Zyla wins qualification at the World Cup opening
On the opening day of the ski jumping season 2013/14, the teams of Poland and Germany picked up where they left off in the FIS Grand Prix 2013. After dominating the events this summer, they showed their strength also against the world's best jumpers and took six of the top 11 spots in the qualification.
Piotr Zyla was first, Dawid Kubacki was third and Jan Ziobro's fifth proved the awesome shape of the Polish team. In addition, the pre-qualified Kamil Stoch posted an outstanding jump on 145 m and underlined the team's ambition to stand on top of the podium in Saturday's team event. "I was not surprised by our performances. We've been working hard for this. My jump was fantastic and I enjoyed it. We are in a good shape and have a chance to win", said Kamil Stoch.
After today's qualification it seems that the German team of head coach Werner Schuster is most likely to keep up with the Poles. Their young athletes attracted attention: Marinus Kraus as sixth, Karl Geiger as eighth, Andreas Wank as eleventh and Grand Prix winner Andreas Wellinger provided a strong performance. Maximilian Mechler also qualified as 39th. Michael Neumayer and Severin Freund were pre-qualified and will also compete in Sunday's individual event. "We will have a young team in the competition and it's mainly about having fun and enjoying ski jumping. Our goal is to finish on the podium", told Werner Schuster.
Anders Fannemel of Norway was second, Andreas Kofler of Austria was fourth, Jurij Tepes of Slovenia was seventh and veteran Janne Ahonen was ninth and left a strong impression. The teams of Slovenia and Austria are also contenders for top results in the team competition. The Austrian can rely on overall World Cup winner Gregor Schlierenzauer in this event. Once again he showed a great jump with 139.5 m.
The season opening was a disappointment for Jernej Damjan. The Slovene, who was second in this year's FIS Grand Prix, failed to make the cut as 47th. This fate was also shared by Lukas Hlava, Rune Velta and Olli Muotka.
The first qualification at a World Cup opening in Central Europe since Planica (SLO) in 1994 took place with light fog, drizzling rain and temperatures of about +2°C. The hill in Klingenthal, that was perfectly prepared with snow of last winter, provided wintery conditions for the athletes.