Great duel in the first of two ladies' competitions in Frenstat (CZE). Sara Takanashi of Japan and Maren Lundby of Norway showed the fans at the Ladies' FIS Grand Prix on the HS 106 hill in Frenstat a great fight, which was won by the 21-year-old Japanese. Lundby came in second, Katharina Althaus of Germany finished on a good third place.
Maren Lundby was fourth after the first round, 8.5 points behind the half-time leader Sara Takanashi. But then the Olympic champion from PyeongChang showed what she can do and posted a fantastic second jump of 101 m (the longest jump of the day). This was a real statement before the final three athletes (Ito, Althaus, Takanashi).
Ito and Althaus could not beat Lundby, and it got close with Takanashi. Sara Takanashi had to show a strong jump of 99 m in order to defend a lead of 1.7 points. In the end, it was a well-deserved win for Takanashi, her third in the third Grand Prix of the summer. "I'm very satisfied with today's competition, the jumps were okay. Tomorrow I want to do my best again", said the winner. This was already the 22nd win in the Grand Prix for Takanashi.
Maren Lundby was also happy. "I'm satisfied, this was a performance today. If I can show a similar performance tomorrow, then it will be a good weekend for me", said the 23-year-old.
Katharina Althaus, who establish herself among the world's best last winter, is now also doing very well in summer. "I'm very happy that I'm now also able to show good jumps in summer and that I'm strong enough to finish on the podium. Our team will not go to Chaikovsky and train instead. Then we plan to compete again in the final event in Klingenthal", Althaus said after the competition.
Slovenia's Spela Rogelj presented herself in a strong shape and was fourth. Rogelj, who was disqualified in this summer's first competition in Hinterzarten, showed two strong jumps and was the best Slovene today, followed by the strong Ema Klinec (5th). Besides Althaus, also Juliane Seyfarth (7th) and Pauline Hessler (10th) achieved Top 10 results for Germany. Ramona Straub was 14th.
Austria's Eva Pinkelnig was in a good sixth place after the first round, but she was then disqualified before the second jump because her suit did not meet the rules. So Chiara Hoelzl was the best Austrian in 16th.
Heinz Kuttin had a good start as head coach of the Chinese team. Both of his athletes qualified for the final round of the best 30, Xinyue Chang in 15th and Xueyao Li in 26th, scored important points and gained valuable experiences.
Sara Takanashi leads the overall ranking of the Grand Prix with 300 points, Yuki Ito (172 points) and Ema Klinec (165 points) follow in second and third.
The second competition of the weekend in Frenstat will take place on Saturday at 2 pm CET.