After the team event on Saturday (winner: Norway), the opener of the Ski Jumping World Cup season in Wisla (POL) ended with a surprising victory of Japan's Junshiro Kobayashi on Sunday. Kobayashi, who already won two competitions of the FIS Grand Prix this summer (both in Hakuba), took a well-deserved win ahead of local hero Kamil Stoch and Austria's Stefan Kraft.
This win in this season's first World Cup competition was the first ever win in a World Cup for 26-year-old Kobayashi. "Of course I'm very happy about this result, but I'm also surprised. I had two very good jumps today and in the final round I also had good conditions", the happy winner said after the competition.
Double Olympic champion and local hero Kamil Stoch enthused the crowd at the hill in Wisla. He moved up from eighth after the first round to second overall and came in only 2.3 points behind Junshiro Kobayashi. "I want to congratulate Junshiro, he was jumping really well today. The hill was in a very good condition and the wind was okay. In my first jump I was a bit too late at the take-off, otherwise, an even better result might have been possible", explained Stoch.
The third place went to Stefan Kraft of Austria: "I had two very good jumps today, but they were not perfect. Everything has to work out perfectly in order to win. I'm very happy that I'm in such a good shape again. It was a great start", said last season's overall World Cup winner.
Bad luck for Freitag - Germans strong
Richard Freitag had some bad luck in today's competition. He was in the lead after the first round, then the conditions were very difficult for his final jump so he lost some ground and finished fourth. But still, Freitag can feel like a winner after his performances in Wisla. The 26-year-old is in a great shape and he will have the next chance to prove that he is one of the top contenders for the podium already next weekend in Ruka (FIN).
The entire German team left a very strong impression, just like the team of Poland. Besides Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger (9th), Stephan Leyhe (10th), Pius Paschke (12th) and Markus Eisenbichler (15th) finished in the Top 15 today. For Pius Paschke this 12th place was even a career-best. Karl Geiger came in on a good 17th place.
With second-placed Kamil Stoch, Piotr Zyla and Stefan Hula, who tied for seventh, and Dawid Kubacki in 10th, four Polish athletes were among the best 10 in Wisla.
The Top 10 were completed by the strong Austrian youngster Daniel Huber (6th), who showed the longest jump of the day with 131 m in the final round, and Daniel Andre Tande (5th) of Norway.
Many well-known athletes became victims of the high level of the competition and the difficult wind conditions. Among the jumpers who could not qualify for the final round of the best 30 today were Japanese Noriaki Kasai and Swiss Simon Ammann.
The second stop of the World Cup winter will be Ruka/Kuusamo (FIN) next weekend. Like in Wisla, a team and an individual competition will be held there.