Local hero Ryoyu Kobayashi was the best ski jumper in the qualification for the first of two FIS Grand Prix competitions this weekend in Hakuba (JPN).
The 20-year-old Japanese from Sapporo showed a jump of 126.5 m on the HS 131 and scored 129.5 points. Switzerland's Simon Ammann, who always enjoys these trips to Japan, showed a convincing performance with 128.5 m for 125.8 points and the second place. Klemens Muranka of Poland came in third with 124.5 m and 122.2 points.
Anze Semenic was the best athlete of the Slovenian team in forth, he was followed by Kenneth Gangnes, who was the best Norwegian in fifth. With Junshiro Kobayashi in sixth, another jumper of the hosting team was among the best today. Evgeniy Klimov of Russia, who is competing in the Grand Prix for the first time this summer, presented himself in a good shape in seventh.
For Japanese veteran Noriaki Kasai these competitions in Hakuba are also the first international appearance this season. But he who was only 40th today and will have to significantly improve his performance if he wants to fight for the top spots this weekend.
Best of the German team, which consists of only two jumpers, was Pius Paschke in 16th. His fellow countryman Lukas Wagner was 25th and also had no problems to qualify for his first ever Grand Prix competition. Young Turk Fatih Arda Ipcioglu will also make his debut in this competition series on Saturday. The 19-year-old was 47th in this qualification.
Lukas Hlava of the Czech Republic surprisingly failed to make the cut for this weekend's first competition. Both Koreans, Seou Choi and Heung Chul Choi, will also have to watch the event on Saturday from the sidelines.
The first competition in Hakuba starts on Saturday at 11:00 am CET.