For Poland's Kamil Stoch, the World Cup weekend on his home hill in Zakopane couldn't have started any better. Stoch took a clear win in Friday's qualification for the individual competition on Sunday. The 4-Hills-Tournament winner scored 160.4 points with his jump of 137 m and came in ahead of the two strong Germans Markus Eisenbichler (136.5 m; 150.3 points) and Richard Freitag (131 m; 149.0 points).
Stoch is now also the top favorite for the competition on Sunday. In front of 15000 fans, who already provided the famous Zakopane atmosphere on the qualification day, Dawid Kubacki was fourth and second-best of the Polish team.
Marius Lindvik of Norway surprised with his very good fifth place and with his performance in the training and the qualification Lindvik earned his spot on the Norwegian team on Saturday. If the 19-year-old can jump that well again in Saturday's competition, he might cause head coach Alex Stoeckl quite a headache. Lindvik still has the chance to come from behind and earn his ticket to the Olympics in PyeongChang. This would be an extremely bitter pill for one of the other Norwegian athletes, who might have already considered himself a member of the Olympic team.
Peter Prevc is getting better and better and came in sixth today. With 142.6 points, Prevc was only seven points behind the second place and in striking distance to the top. With Ryoyu Kobayashi (the younger one of the Kobayashi brothers) and the two Norwegians Johann Forfang and Andreas Stjernen, three other top athletes finished on the places 7 - 9.
Japanese Daiki Ito returned to the World Cup today with a 28th place. Ito sustained a shoulder injury when he crashed in the season opener in Wisla (POL). "It's not 100 % okay again, but I can jump and will fight", Daiki Ito said after his comeback.
Markus Eisenbichler, Stephan Leyhe, and Richard Freitag, who all jumped well, will compete for Germany on Saturday. Andreas Wellinger was struggling on the HS 140 today, but he still has his place on the German team. With his experience, Wellinger is capable of doing a good job in the competitions on the Wielka Krokiew hill in Zakopane despite his problems on the first day here.
Dawid Kubacki, Kamil Stoch, Stefan Hula and Maciej Kot, who replaces Piotr Zyla, were named to the Polish team.
The team competition in Zakopane on Saturday will start on 4 pm CET in front of a sold-out stadium.