Austria's Daniela Iraschko-Stolz won the first of three (two individual, one team) ladies' World Cup competitions in Zao on Friday. The 35-year-old posted jumps of 93.5 m and 92.5 m (205.2 points) and came in ahead of Sara Takanashi of Japan and Germany's Katharina Althaus.
After the training and the qualification had to be canceled yesterday and right before the competition due to snowfall and wind (only one training round could be held on Thursday), the competition also took place in difficult conditions, and it was really close in Zao. The winner Iraschko-Stolz and third-placed Katharina Althaus were only separated by two points.
"I'm very happy about the result today. My first jump was pretty awesome, I jumped much further than in yesterday's training round", told the winner, who landed already after 55 m yesterday. "The conditions were not easy, usually, there's a lot of headwind in Zao, but today there was a lot of side wind right after the take-off", explained Iraschko-Stolz.
With the second place, it was a successful day for local hero Sara Takanashi. "I'm very satisfied today, especially because my technique is not good at the moment. In Zao, it has been getting better and better with each jump. The conditions were not easy today, but I just tried to focus on my jumps", Sara Takanashi said.
Overall World Cup leader Katharina Althaus was satisfied with her third place today: "I'm very happy about the third place today. It was not an easy day, but I think that all in all it was a good and fair competition."
The fourth place went to Maren Lundby of Norway, who had the best jump of the competition in the final round (99.5 m) but was already too far behind after the first round (sixth place) in order to make it to the podium.
Nika Kriznar of Slovenia had a strong competition and achieved a top result in fifth. Russia's Lidiia Iakovleva, who took her first win in Lillehammer, and Anna Odine Stroem of Norway also convinced in sixth and seventh.
Juliane Seyfarth was eighth and confirmed once again that she is jumping better than ever before this winter.
Katharina Althaus still leads the overall World Cup ahead of Norway's Maren Lundby and Daniela Iraschko-Stolz.
The team competition in Zao starts on Saturday at 9 am CET (5 pm LOC), another individual competition follows on Sunday.