Austria's Stefan Kraft won the qualification for the third competition of the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament. On the Bergisel-hill in Innsbruck, Kraft showed a jump of 134.5 m (142.1 points) that earned him the win and the 2000,- Euro prize money. Poland's Maciej Kot (132 m; 139.5 points) and Piotr Zyla (130 m; 137.7 points) came in second and third.
"This jump was really good, now I know what I have to do tomorrow", said Kraft, who can be confident for the Wednesday's competition.
The overall leader of the 4-Hills-Tournament, Kamil Stoch of Poland, has again decided not to participate in the qualification.
Three fighting for the top
Under bright sunshine the fans in Innsbruck saw a qualification on a high level, in which, besides Kraft and the two Poles, also Daniel Andre Tande of Norway, the winner of the event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Germany's Markus Eisenbichler showed very good performances. So the current Top 3 in the overall ranking, Stoch, Kraft and Tande, will be the ones to beat when it comes to the fight for the overall title.
Austrians extremely strong
Besides the extremely strong Polish athletes, the Austrians also did very well once again. With Kraft, Michael Hayboeck (4th) and Manuel Fettner (7th), three jumpers of head coach Heinz Kuttin achieved top results. Seven more Austrian athletes managed to qualify and so a total of 10 Austrians will get the crowd all fired up in the stadium on the Bergisel tomorrow.
Best German was once again Markus Eisenbichler. The Bavarian is currently on a strong fourth place in the overall ranking of the 4-Hills-Tournament and after his sixth place in today's qualification he will fight for a podium finish in the competition. All of Eisenbichler's teammates also made the cut. Andreas Wellinger (9th), Stephan Leyhe (12th), Richard Freitag (25th) and Karl Geiger (41st) had no problems to qualify. Severin Freund is still a reason for concern for head coach Werner Schuster. He finished only 47th, but will get to compete tomorrow.
Vincent Descombes Sevoie of France has become a regular in the Top 10. With his eighth place in today's qualification he proved his top shape. Bad news for the French team was the disqualification of Descombes Sevoie's teammate Ronan Lamy Chappuis, whose suit did not meet the rules.
Cene Prevc was the best of the three Prevc brothers and the best Slovene in tenth. Last year's winner Peter Prevc (14th) and World Cup leader Domen Prevc (18th) were also in the Top 20.
The competition starts on Wednesday at 2:00 pm CET.