Two Austrians, one German and one Norwegian took the victories on the first competition day of the FIS Youth Cup in Knyken (NOR).
Austria reigns in Youth I categories
Austria’s Laura Pletz and Paul Walcher reigned in the Youth I categories and took the wins. While Pletz had jumped to the lead with a jump of 64.5 metres, she had to fight off Russia’s Mariia Kuzmina, who ranked fourth after the ski jumping part but managed to reduce her time behind of 58 seconds to 8.3 seconds at the finish line on the 3 km track. Pletz’s teammate Anja Rathgeb ranked second after the jumping part with 59 metres but had to concede defeat to the Russian, who came storming from behind to take the silver medal. Rathgeb ended her day with the third rank, finishing one minute and 9 seconds behind her teammate Laura Pletz.
Contrary to Pletz, Paul Walcher was not in the lead after the jumping part of the event, which went to Russia’s Konstatin Izvolskii with 71 metres (105.6 p.). The performance was matched by Norway’s Fabian Østvold, who jumped to 68 metres but claimed the same score thanks to less wind deduction points and better style marks. Walcher ranked third with 63.5 metres and 95.3 points, which translated into a 31-seconds delay at the start line.
With the absolute fastest time of the race, Walcher shot to the top and finished a whopping 49.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Mika Wunderlich from Germany, who himself had improved from position six. Norwegian Torje Seljeset was the second-fastest man on the track and skied up from position eleven to finish third, +1:14.1 behind the winner.
Well-known names take Youth II victories
Emilia Görlich and Johan Fredriksen Orset are no surprise winners in the Youth II categories other past Youth Cup victories under their belts already. Görlich took the lead on the hill already and jumped to 64.5 metres, 4.5 metres longer than runner-up, Mani Cooper, from Great Britain. 95.8 points gave Görlich a head start of 29 seconds on the 3 km track, which fast skier Görlich transformed into a clear one minute and 12 seconds at the finish line.
Cooper, in turn, also managed to claim the clear seconds place. While Oda Leiraamo managed to minimise her start deficit from two minute and 14 seconds to two minutes and six seconds at the finish line, Cooper was not in any real danger to lose her second place at all.
As his counterpart in the Youth I categories, Johan Fredriksen Orset started his cross-country race from position three, after jumping to long 69 metres (99.1 p.) but with lower style marks and a lot of wind support. Best jumper on the hill was Norway’s Isak Andreas Langmo with 65.5 metres and a total of 100.7 points. Andreas Ottesen showed 68.5 metres but also due to generous support from the wind. He claimed a point score of 99.8 points and the three athletes started within 5 seconds of each other.
Orset was the fastest skier on the 4.5 km distance and won the race with 8.3 seconds of advantage over Ottesen at the finish line. Harald Martin Øihaugen improved from position five to take the third place, +34.4 seconds behind Orset.