Stefan Kraft first winner on the final weekend
Austria's Stefan Kraft won the first of three Ski Flying event on the final weekend of the Ski Jumping season in Planica (SLO). With jumps of 243 m and 240.5 m (490.2 points), the 23-year-old of the club SV Schwarzach took a clear win ahead of the two Germans Andreas Wellinger and Markus Eisenbichler. After this win the overall World Cup title is now within reach for Kraft. The fight for the crystal globe will be decided in the final individual competition on Sunday.
"Right now it's going very, very well for me. My two jumps in the competition today were sensational again, also the trial round was very good. Everything worked out perfectly and it was a lot of fun. I tried to enjoy it today and it was simply awesome. Yesterday was not that good, but we analyzed it afterwards so I could improve today", said Kraft, for whom this was already the seventh win this season.
The two Germans Andreas Wellinger (235 m and 235 m; 480.4 points) and Markus Eisenbichler (243.5 m and 236 m; 461.8 points) could show a strong performance again and came in second and third. "The three of us have been on the podium together before and of course you also want to win, but Markus and I showed a great performance today with really cool jumps. I'm extremely happy that I can jump on such a high level at the moment. We are not the top favorites in the team event tomorrow, but if everyone us shows a solid performance we can be on the podium again", said Wellinger, who could follow up on his strong performances during the RAW AIR Tour.
For Markus Eisenbichler this was the third podium finish of his career: "This hill here is a bit different than Vikersund and I have always had problems here. This year I came here in a better shape and I enjoyed jumping here right from the start. For me personally, this is my most emotional podium finish because Ski Flying was the reason I started Ski Jumping. This makes it extremely special for me to be on the podium here. I have to continue working, because the goal must be to stand on top of the podium one day."
In this competition on a very high level, veteran Noriaki Kasai could once again prove his outstanding Ski Flying skills and finished fourth. Kasai's jumps of 221 m and 235.5 m enthused the 20 000 fans and earned him the fourth place in the Ski Flying World Cup - incredible. Close behind Kasai, Poland's Kamil Stoch came in fifth and lost important points in his battle for the overall World Cup and Ski Flying World Cup title with Stefan Kraft. After today's result he only has a theoretical chance to take one of the two overall wins.
Michael Hayboeck in sixth, Piotr Zyla in seventh, Robert Johansson in eighth, Andreas Fannemel in ninth and Slovenia's Peter Prevc completed the Top 10 in an event that was carried out under summer-like temperatures of 17° C.
The second of three competitions this weekend will be the team event on Saturday, the final individual competition of the season will then take place on Sunday. Both competitions start at 10:00 am CET (trial round at 9:00 am).
Stefan Kraft now leads the overall World Cup with 1565 points, ahead of Kamil Stoch (1479 points) and Norway's Daniel Andre Tande (1201 points). The fight for the Nation's Cup will also be exciting. Currently Poland is in the lead with 5427 points, followed by Austria (5201 points) and Germany (5008 points).