Yuki Ito of Japan won the first of two Grand Prix competitions in Frenstat (CZE). The 24-year-old showed jumps of 95.5 m and 93 m (222.7 points) and won ahead of the surprisingly strong 16-year-old Lucile Morat of France (91 m and 94.5 m; 217.9 points) and Maren Lundby of Norway (93 m and 92 m; 213.9 points). The best German lost her chance on a top result in the second round.
Great premiere in Frenstat. On the traditional HS 106 hill in the east of the Czech Republic, the world's best ski jumpers showed a great competition under temperatures of about 30°C. It was the first ever FIS Ladies Grand Prix on this hill.
Earlier today, top favorite Sara Takanashi lost her chance on a next win due to a disqualification (too long skis), and so her Japanese teammate Yuki Ito became the top contender. And Yuki Ito left no doubt that she is jumping on an extremely high level. The 24-year-old won this competition in Frenstat with a lead of about five points. "I'm satisfied with my performance, the jumps in the competition were better than in training. Tomorrow I would like to jump even better than today", said the winner.
Third-placed Maren Lundby also wants to further improve her performance on Saturday: "It's difficult to jump on this hill. Tomorrow I want to show better jumps and maybe finish even higher on the podium." Lucile Morat was completely satisfied with her career-best result. "I'm very happy. The training was difficult, but in the competition I knew what I had to do and I jumped better. The good results are due to our hard work."
Russia's Irina Avvakumova missed the podium by only 2.3 points, she finished fourth like last week in Courchevel. The Russian is in a very good shape right now and has to be reckoned with in the second competition. Ema Klinec was the best Slovene in fifth. With Spela Rogelj in seventh and Maja Vtic, Ursa Bogataj and Katja Pozun on the places 12 - 14, it was a successful day for Slovenia.
Today's event was also a success for Sarah Hendrickson of the USA. Especially the second jump of the former World Champion and overall World Cup winner was strong. Hendrickson is on her way back to the top. Canada's Natasha Bodnarchuk and Daniela Haralambie of Romania showed very good performances as well and finished 10th and 11th.
Germany's Juliane Seyfarth had some bad luck in the second round. With 91.5 m she was third after the first round, in the final she landed already at 88.5 m and came in eighth overall. But Seyfarth is strong this summer, she is not far from the top.
Yuki Ito of Japan leads the overall ranking with 160 points, Lucile Morat is second (125 points) and Katharina Althaus (GER / 100 points), who is not competing in Frenstat, follows in third.
The second competition in Frenstat starts on Saturday at 2:00 pm CET.