In the second competition in Engelberg, Ryoyu Kobayashi proved once again who is the world's best ski jumper at the moment. A day after the 22-year-old Japanese had his worst result this winter with the seventh place, Kobayashi won the final competition before the 4-Hills-Tournament ahead of the two Poles Piotr Zyla and Kamil Stoch.
Kobayashi is now the top favorite for the 4-Hills-Tournament starting on December 29th in Oberstdorf.
"Today it was a bit more difficult than yesterday regarding the inrun-track. But, on the other hand, I had good conditions in the first round." With a jump on the hill record of 144 m, Kobayashi laid the foundation for his win already in the first round. "I didn't think my lead after the first round was that big, With Piotr and Kamil, two athletes were behind me, who would close the gap if I make just a small mistake", explained the 22-year-old, whose idols are Kamil Stoch, Noriaki Kasai, and Gregor Schlierenzauer. "Actually, I'm surprised by my performances this winter, but it has been my goal for years to show such consistent performances. I don't feel the pressure of being the favorite for the 4-Hills-Tournament. I only focus on my jumps and now I will relax in Japan for a couple of days", said the younger one of the Kobayashi brothers.
Kamil Stoch and Piotr Zyla top
Kamil Stoch and Piotr Zyla are in striking distance to Kobayashi right before the start of the 4-Hills-Tournament. They are consistently jumping on a high level and will be there if the Japanese shows any weakness in the fight for the overall title of the 4-Hills. Kamil Stoch said about the competition in Engelberg: "My first jump today was really good, I'm not that satisfied with the second one because I made a stupid mistake right before the take-off. But of course, I'm satisfied that it was still enough to be on the podium. It's always nice to jump here in Engelberg, I like the hill, even if it's not easy to jump here. I always come to Engelberg with a smile on my face. It's great that Ryoyu says I'm one of his idols, but I don't see myself in this position. I'm pretty relaxed when it comes to the 4-Hills-Tournament. The younger athletes have more pressure there than me. There's still some work to do before the 4-Hills-Tournament starts."
After his performances so far this winter, Piotr Zyla is also one of the top contenders at the 4-Hills-Tournament. Zyla is in the best shape of his life. "I'm happy that I finished on the podium again. Today I'm more satisfied than yesterday because my jumps were a lot better technically. I don't think about how to beat Ryoyu. He is jumping on an extremely high level, but I only focus on my jumps and not on those of the others", said Zyla.
With Dawid Kubacki in fifth, a third Polish athlete was among the best today. The team of Stefan Horngacher seems to be ready for the 4-Hills-Tournament.
Karl Geiger of Germany, who celebrated his first World Cup win on Saturday, was also one of the very best today. The Oberstdorf-native closely missed the podium in fourth and has definitely gained lots of self-confidence before his upcoming home event. The very good team result of the Germans was completed by Markus Eisenbichler on a season-best sixth place and Stephan Leyhe in eleventh.
Best Norwegian was Robert Johansson in seventh, a significant improvement compared to his 17th place yesterday. Russia's Evgeniy Klimov confirmed his good shape again in eighth and also Roman Koudelka, eleventh and ninth on the weekend in Engelberg, showed his positive trend. Antti Aalto of Finland presented himself in a consistently good shape over the last couple of weeks and this is proven by his tenth place today.
It was a disappointing day for the Austrians. Daniel Huber, who achieved his first World Cup podium in third yesterday, failed to qualify and in the competition, Stefan Kraft was the only one who made the cut for the final round. He came in 12th.
In the overall World Cup, Ryoyu Kobayashi (556 points) has a clear lead ahead of Piotr Zyla (445 points) and Kamil Stoch (365 points).
After the Christmas break, the Ski Jumping World Cup continues in Oberstdorf, where the 4-Hills-Tournament starts on December 29th and 30th.