The Polish athletes presented themselves in a very strong shape in the qualification for the normal hill competition at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti (FIN).
Dawid Kubacki was the strongest athlete in this round with a jump of 99 m and 129.2 points. He was followed by his teammate Piotr Zyla, who jumped on 96 m and scored 126.5 points.
Behind the two Poles, local hero Janne Ahonen provided the highlight for the Finnish hosts. The 39-year-old Ski Jumping legend showed a really good performance on his home hill with a jump of 97 m, that earned him a total of 126.2 points and the third place in this qualification for Saturday's competition.
Evgeniy Klimov of Russia (97.5 m) and Germany's Stephan Leyhe (96 m) tied for fourth with 125.3 points. Behind Taku Takeuchi of Japan, Klimov's teammate Alexey Romashov surprised in seventh.
All Finns qualified
The best Norwegians on Friday afternoon were Johann Andre Forfang in eighth and Robert Johansson in ninth. With Ville Larinto on the tenth place, a second athlete of the Finnish team was in the Top 10 today. Jarkko Maeaettae (29th) and Antti Aalto (34th) also made the cut for the competition and so all four member of Team Finland will get the chance to compete in front of their home crowd.
A close team performance was shown by the Czech Republic with Jakub Janda, Viktor Polasek and Roman Koudelka in 11th, 12th and 14th. Behind Slovenia's Cene Prevc, Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer, who is making his comeback after his crash in Oberstdorf, was 16th, followed by the two great veterans Noriaki Kasai and Simon Ammann, who tied for 17th.
For a few well-known athletes today's qualification didn't go as well as expected. Richard Freitag (19th), Andreas Stjernen (24th) and Vincent Descombes Sevoie (33rd) had no problems to qualify for the first competition of this WSC, but they will have to improve their performances in order to meet their own expectations.
Kamil Stoch with record jump
Kamil Stoch showed the outstanding performances of the already pre-qualified athletes with a jump of 103.5 m. The Pole improved the hill record of Jurij Tepes by 2.5 m, but he felt some pain in the right knee right after the landing and was limping when he walked out of the outrun. Stefan Kraft (99.5 m), Andreas Wellinger (98.5 m) and Peter Prevc (98.5 m) came closest to the overall World Cup leader. Maciej Kot, who jumped on 97 m, will also be among the favorites for Saturday's event.
The competition on the HS 100 normal hill in Lahti will start on Saturday at 4:30 pm CET.