Perfect start for Ryoyu Kobayashi
Ryoyu Kobayashi

Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan won the opening event of the 67th 4-Hills-Tournament in Oberstdorf on Sunday evening. In front of 25 000 enthusiastic fans, the 22-year-old claimed the win ahead of Markus Eisenbichler of Germany and Austria's Stefan Kraft.

The top favorite Ryoyu Kobayashi handled the pressure of the huge expectations well and was the best in today's 4-Hills opener. With a lead of only 0.4 points (138.5 m and 126.5 m; 282.3 points) over Markus Eisenbichler (133 m and 129 m; 281.9 points) it was a close win for the Japanese. Eisenbichler also came in only 1.4 points ahead of Austrian Stefan Kraft.

Like already during the qualification yesterday, the wind conditions were difficult again. Highflyer Ryoyu Kobayashi had to deal with different conditions in each of his jumps, but he handled it in the style of a true champion and took a well-deserved win. "I’m not thinking about the overall title yet, I will take it step by step and now I’m looking forward to jumping in Garmisch-Partenkrichen tomorrow", explained the obviously impressed winner. This was the fifth World Cup win for Kobayashi, he took all of them this season. 

For Markus Eisenbichler today's second place was his best result this season so far. Eisenbichler was screaming for joy after the competition and gave the enthusiastic fans in the sold-out arena of Oberstdorf a reason to cheer even louder. "I almost cried, the 4-Hills-Tournament is a childhood dream and now I’m second here. Right now I’m pretty relaxed again and I’m happy that it’s over. It was nice, that I was able to show two stable jumps in the competition, even though they were not perfect", said the Bavarian.

"It was a really cool competition, my second jump was really amazing. Eisenbichler and Kobayashi jumped almost exactly on the green line, so, of course, you take a closer look. It might have even been possible to win today", said Stefan Kraft, who impressively confirmed his qualification win from the day before.

Andreas Stjernen was the best Norwegian in fourth, Robert Johansson was the second best of the team from Norway in seventh. The Polish team did not have an athlete among the very best, but with Dawid Kubacki (5th), Piotr Zyla (6th) and Kamil Stoch (8th) three of their jumpers are still within striking distance when it comes to the 4-Hills overall ranking.

The 4-Hills-Tournament continues already on Monday with the training and qualification in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Markus Eisenbichler, Ryoyu Kobayashi, Stefan Kraft

Here's what the athletes said after the competition in Oberstdorf:

Andreas Wellinger (39th): Yesterday I made a step forward, unfortunately, today I made two steps back. This sucks, it’s not fun, but life still goes on. In the future, it would important to make two steps forward and one back and not vice versa. 

Constantin Schmid (24th): I’m pretty satisfied. I scored some points, that was my goal. The jumps could have been better, but I’ll just do that in Garmisch.

Michael Hayboeck (27th): It was a tough day. I feel good and I didn’t do anything differently than yesterday. I tried everything, but nothing worked. It has also been the case in training over the last couple of weeks that it goes from very, very good, to totally bad from one jump to the other.

Johann Andre Forfang (25th): It’s hard for me to say what the problem was. After the last couple of days, I really lack the self-confidence. It was tough today, I was looking to find the right position in the inrun. I know that I’m not far away from that higher level I was jumping on earlier this winter, I just have to forget this day.

Simon Ammann (14th): This was the improvement I had hoped for at the 4-Hills-Tournament. I had good jumps in these difficult conditions. I need the consistency also in such competitions in order to improve and I need the patience now. At my age, how good I can be also depends on the shape I’m in on a particular day. 

Severin Freund (36th): It’s a pity because it would have been difficult for me and with a normal jump more would have been possible. When the conditions are good and then your own performance isn’t, that makes it twice as hard. Fortunately, we are jumping again already tomorrow and then I want to do better.

Kamil Stoch (8th): Actually I’m feeling really good right now. It’s about one or two small details on the technical side and when this starts to work well, then I think I’ll jump much better.

Robert Johansson (7th): For me, it was a good start and so I’m looking forward to continuing working on my jumps and show even better performances in Garmisch and on the following hills. I think the Top 3 today were not a surprise, but there can always be surprises during the 4-Hills-Tournament. 

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