Austrian Stefan Kraft won the second of three Ski Jumping World Cups in Sapporo (JPN) on Saturday. Kraft prevailed in a thrilling final ahead of Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud and local hero and previous day’s winner Ryoyu Kobayashi. World Cup leader Dawid Kubacki from Poland finished fourth.
Kraft got a lot of pressure in the final from Ryoyu Kobayashi, who was on 11th place after the first round, but then had a perfect jump in the final in good conditions, so Kobayashi managed to make up eight places, Granerud and Kraft were the only ones to pass the Japanese and took first and second place.
For Kraft it was already the fourth victory on the Okurayama hill in Sapporo. “I am very very happy, my jumps were very good today and I had the necessary luck that you just always need in Sapporo. I was very aggressive today and I will be the same again in the third competition tomorrow. This hill and this ice inrun here are just great,” explained Kraft, who celebrated his 27th World Cup win overall and has now collected 87 podium finishes in his career.
“I am absolutely happy with my jumps today, I have changed a few things since yesterday and I am really absolutely happy with what I could show here today. Yesterday I was a bit too aggressive in the inrun position, I did better today,” explained Halvor Egner Granerud, who with his second place could reduce the gap in the overall World Cup to World Cup leader Dawid Kubacki (fourth place today) to 104 points (1140 to 1036). Kubacki, however, will definitely leave Sapporo as the leader after the competition on Sunday.
Besides Kraft, Daniel Tschofenig and Manuel Fettner in 5th and 6th place ensured a top team result for the Austrians. Andreas Wellinger continued his upward trend as the best German in 7th place, Kamil Stoch and Piotr Zyla finished 8th and 9th ahead of the surprisingly strong Zak Mogel from Slovenia.
In partly turbulent wind conditions some top athletes did not reach the competition, for example Daniel Andre Tande (NOR), Naoki Nakamura and Yukia Sato had to bury all chances for a good result already after the qualification.
The third and last competition in Sapporo will take place on Sunday already at 2:00 am (10:00 am local time). The qualification starts at 0:30 (8:30 local time).