21-year-old Japanese Ryoyu Kobayashi won the first of two FIS Grand Prix competitions in Hakuba (JPN) on Friday evening. This was the first win in the Grand Prix for Ryoyu Kobayashi, who was second behind his brother Junshiro on this hill last year. Evgeniy Klimov (RUS) and Daiki Ito (JPN) finished second and third.
The younger of the Kobayashi brothers scored 279.8 points for his jumps of 131.5 m and 128 m and came in 18.2 points ahead of second-placed Russian Evgeniy Klimov. Of course, the local hero was more than satisfied with his first win: "I'm totally happy that I could win my first Grand Prix here in Hakuba, I love this hill. Hopefully, I can enjoy jumping again that much tomorrow."
For Evgeniy Klimov, today's second place was already his third podium finish this summer. He is now only 15 points behind the leader Kamil Stoch of Poland in the overall Grand Prix ranking. Most likely Klimov will take the lead after Saturday's competition, which means that he will travel to the next Grand Prix event at home in Chaikovsky (RUS) as the overall leader. "I really like this hill here in Hakuba. My first jump was not so good, I made some small mistakes, the second jump was quite okay. I'll try to do my best again tomorrow and maybe then I can take the lead in the Grand Prix", said Klimov.
Daiki Ito of Japan surprised in third today. For Ito this was the first Grand Prix podium since 2011 and the first success after a long break due to an injury. Ito explained: "Unfortunately I was sidelined for a long time after my injury. Today is kind of like a re-start for me. I'm very happy about this result, our new head coach Hideharu Miyahira is very important for me." With Taku Takeuchi in fourth, Shohei Tochimoto in seventh and Yuken Iwasa in tenth, it was a very successful first day for the hosting team in Hakuba.
Not only Evgeniy Klimov, but also Dmitriy Vassiliev (7th), Denis Kornilov (21st) and Mikhail Nazarov (27th) could achieve convincing results for the team of Russia.
Daniel Huber was sixth and again the best Austrian. An even better result would have been possible for him today, but in the first round the 25-year-old had problems with his binding and so he lost important style points.
Kilian Peier came in on a good eighth place, Jaka Hvala was the best Slovene in ninth.
21-year-old Martin Hamann of Germany also had a reason to celebrate today. He had a strong jump of 125.5 m in the second round and came in eleventh. His teammate Andreas Wank was disqualified before his first jump because his suit did not meet the rules. Last year's winner Junshiro Kobayashi of Japan, Finland's Antti Aalto, and Austrian Ulrich Wohlgenannt were also disqualified.
A day of important points
The teams of Korea (Seou Choi, 28th), Kazakstan (Sabirzhan Muminov, 30th, and Sergey Tkachenko, 25th) and Estonia (Martti Nomme, 29th), were all able to score some important Grand Prix points with their Top 30 results.
The second competition in Hakuba will start on Saturday at 11:30 am CET.
Today's result Top 3
1. Ryoyu Kobayashi, Japan, 279.8 points
2. Evgeniy Klimov, Russia, 261.6 points
3. Daiki Ito, Japan, 257.5 points
GRAND PRIX Overall Top 3
1. Kamil Stoch, Poland - 300 points
2. Evgeniy Klimov, Russia - 285 points
3. Piotr Zyla, Poland - 230 points
Nation's Cup Top 3
1. Poland - 1309 points
2. Japan - 729 points
3. Germany - 728 points