Johann Andre Forfang of Norway won the first of two World Cups in Nizhny Tagil (RUS) on Saturday evening. It was the third World Cup win for Forfang, the first for the team of Norway this winter. Piotr Zyla of Poland came in second, only 0.2 points behind the winner. The third place went to Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan.
The 23-year-old won a competition on a very high level on the perfectly prepared hill in Nizhny Tagil. Forfang was third after the first round but was able to come in ahead of Zyla and Kobayashi with a strong jump in the final. "This was a good day for our team. I was a bit tired when I arrived here, it's a long trip to Nizhny Tagil. But now I feel very good. Now it's important to jump well consistently and to have jun", Forfang said after his success.
With his second place today, Piotr Zyla is the first Polish jumper to finish on the podium in Nizhny Tagil: "I managed to remain focused only on my jumps today. It's great to be the first Polish athlete who can finish on the podium here", explained the 31-year-old.
Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi was able to follow up on his outstanding performances in Ruka a week ago. With the third place, the 22-year-old also defended his lead in the overall World Cup. "I really like it here in Nizhny Tagil. It was a great result for me today. I'm not thinking about the overall World Cup title or the WSC in Seefeld yet, I just focus on my jumps", said Kobayashi.
The best jump of the day was not shown by one of the Top 3, but by Germany's Stephan Leyhe. Only a small mistake in the first round prevented a podium finish for the Willingen-native. The currently best German ski jumpers finished fourth today and the entire team showed another strong performance. Karl Geiger (10th), Andreas Wellinger (13th) and Severin Freund (22nd) showed convincing jumps.
Local hero and the winner of the competition in Wisla, Evgeniy Klimov, had a bad first jump and was only 27th, but with a very good performance in the final round, he could move up to a solid 11th place, to the joy of the fans at the hill.
Austrians making progress
Not only the Norwegians but also the Austrians seem to be getting better and better, even though only Daniel Huber and Stefan Kraft made the cut for the final round of the best 30. Stefan Kraft finished fifth and got very close to the first podium this season: "I already noticed in Ruka, that it's going in the right direction again. In Wisla, I wanted to do everything perfectly. Now the confidence is coming back and I'm getting better jump by jump. Of course, there's still a gab to the very best, but I have a positive feeling that I can close it soon", said the overall World Cup winner of the 2016/17 season.
Ryoyu Kobayashi leads the overall World Cup with 320 points, followed by Kamil Stoch (226 points) and Piotr Zyla (225 points). Best German is Stephan Leyhe in fourth with 185 points.
The second competition in Nizhny Tagil starts on Sunday at 4 pm CET.