Surprising home win for Junshiro Kobayashi
Japan's Junshiro Kobayashi won the first of two competitions at the FIS Grand Prix 2017 in Hakuba (JPN). With a total of 272.4 points (130 m and 125.5 m), he came in ahead of Norway's Kenneth Gangnes (269.6 points) and Klemens Muranka of Poland (262.4 points).
For 26-year-old Kobayashi this was the second win in the Grand Prix, he also stood on top of the podium in Almaty (KAZ) 2015. "I'm in a good shape right now. We haven't made any changes in training, it's just going really well. I hope that I can achieve a similar result in the second home competition here in Hakuba tomorrow", Kobayashi said after his success.
Norwegian Kenneth Gangnes, who was almost able to beat Kobayashi with a great final jump, finished second: "Apart from the very warm temperatures it was not difficult to jump here today, the wind conditions were okay as well. I was a bit surprised that I had no problems with the time difference. Because of the Olympics next winter, this time difference was one of the reasons for me to come here", said Gangnes. For the Norwegian this was the best summer result since his double victory in Chaikovsky (RUS) in 2015.
Klemens Muranka of Poland was also very happy about the third place today, which was his first podium in the Grand Prix. "The long trip and the time difference were not a problem for me. I'm just happy about my result."
The two Slovenes Anze Semenic and Anze Lanisek came in fourth and fifth, close behind Muranka. Simon Ammann and Evgeniy Klimov were sixth and seventh and could also be satisfied with their results. Ammann is presenting himself in a strong shape and with the distances he jumps he would definitely be a contender for the podium, but the four-time Olympic champion is still struggling with the telemark landing and constantly loses points due to low judges' marks. Taku Takeuchi was the second-best Japanese in eighth, also because Ryoyu, the younger one of the Kobayashi brothers, lost his fourth place after the first round due to a mistake in the final round. Ryoyu Kobayashi finished 11th. But still, it was a good result for the team of Japan.
With Tilen Bartol and Rok Justin in ninth and tenth the Slovenian team had four athletes in the Top 10 - a strong team result, even if no jumper was on the podium today. Finland's Antti Aalto achieved a good result in 12th, followed by veteran and local hero Noriaki Kasai. Kasai was sixth after the first half of the competition, but he had no good jump in the final so Kasai san was only 13th.
Best German jumper today was Pius Paschke in 15th. Lukas Wagner and Canada's Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes were disqualified.
The second competition of the FIS Grand Prix 2017 in Hakuba will take place on Sunday at 3:00 am CET.