The focus of the PyeongChang 2018 test event programme shifted to ski jumping when The Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre played host to a World Cup event, which saw the best jumpers in the world in action, and produced some brilliant performances.
On the normal hill, Japanese jumpers dazzled in both of the women’s events. First, Yuko Ito saw off her more feted compatriot Sara Takanashi to top the podium, coming from behind with a huge second jump of 101.5m to post a winning total of 234.4. However, Takanashi’s second place was enough to clinch the overall World Cup title for the fourth time.
The following day, the honours were reversed as Takanashi claimed her 53rd career World Cup win – equalling the record set by Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer.
I am happy to win my 53rd title.Sara Takanashi
The 20-year-old Takanashi had jumps of 99.5m and 97m to post a winning total of 215.1 points, 1.5 points ahead of Ito. Norway's Maren Lundby, who led after the first round of jumps, finished third with 210.2.
"I am happy to win my 53rd title," said Takanashi. “Looking ahead to the PyeongChang Olympics I have to try hard so that I am selected to compete for Japan. I was able to fix my approach and that I was able to turn things around will give me confidence.”
The spoils in the men’s events were divided between European jumpers. Top spot went to Poland’s Maciej Kot on the normal hill, with Austria’s Stefan Kraft producing a dominant victory on the large hill.
Kraft claimed top spot in the HS140 with a spectacular performance across both jumps that saw him record an impressive score of 293.5, way ahead of Wellinger in second place on 279.8, while World Cup leader Kamil Stoch of Poland made it onto the podium in third (268.2).The following day Kot relegated Kraft to second place in the HS109 event with a total points score of 256.2, putting him four points clear and a over 15 points ahead of third placed Andreas Wellinger of Germany. Kamil Stoch’s quest for the overall World Cup title was put on ice as he had to settle for sixth place, with Kraft closing the leaderboard gap to 60 points.