There were two winners on the first day of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Sapporo: Stefan Kraft of Austria, who showed a flawless performance and won with jumps of 132 m and 137 m, and Poland's Kamil Stoch. Despite being weakened by the flu, the three-time Olympic champion set an incredible new hill record of 148.5 m in the final round and came in second.
No limit for sick Stoch
"I didn't even know if I would land at all", Kamil Stoch, who is suffering from the flu, explained his amazing jump in today's second round. Stoch had perfect condititons and used them like a true champion. With 148.5 m, Stoch improved the hill record on the HS 137 m hill in Sapporo by 4.5 m. "Honestly, I have no idea where the energy came from today. I feel much better than yesterday but I still feel weak, that's normal when you are sick. I just wanted to jump with no pressure and it worked", Stoch added.
Today's winner Stefan Kraft held the previous record. "At the star,t I saw that Kamil was extremely high and extremely far. When you have to start from gate 7 you are a bit nervous, because everything has to work out fine and you need the right jump. Now I'm totally happy that I could handle it and the second jump was great", said Stefan Kraft, from whom this was the 14th World Cup win, the second this season.
The third place went to Norway's Robert Johansson, who was in the lead after the first round. "I had two very stable jumps today, I'm satisfied with my jumping and I'm on the podium so things are definitely getting better. I hope I can jump well again tomorrow and it's good to see that I'm able to fight for the win", Johansson summed up the competition.
Roman Koudelka of the Czech Republic found back to old strength and came in fourth. Koudelka is a contender for the podium in the next competitions. Local hero Ryoyu Kobayashi missed the podium today due to a weaker second jump, the overall World Cup leader was fifth.
Timi Zajc (SLO), Halvor Egner Granerud (NOR) and Daniel Huber (AUT) finished on the places six to eight. Stephan Leyhe and Markus Eisenbichler were ninth and tenth. Andreas Wellinger is getting in better shape again and was 13th.
Ryoyu Kobayashi leads the World Cup with 1173 points, ahead of Poland's Kamil Stoch (704 points) and Stefan Kraft (681 points), who moved up to third with today's win.
The second competition in Sapporo already starts at 2 am CET (10 am LOC).