Piotr Zyla defended the World Champion title in a thrilling competition in Planica. The Pole was only 13th after the first round. Andreas Wellinger and Karl Geiger from Germany completed the podium.
That was an exciting ski jumping show under the floodlight in Planica. After the first round, the difference between the leader Stefan Kraft from Austria and tenth Halvor Egner Granerud from Norway was lower than 5 points. Around 15 athletes were still in the game for medals with Piotr Zyla among them.
The defending champion showed a jump on 97.5 meters and took the 13th place after the first round, 5.9 points behind Kraft, who landed at 102.5 meters. Germany’s Andreas Wellinger and Karl Geiger were respectively second and third. The local hero Anze Lanisek jumped on 99.5 meters and placed as sixth, also closely behind the Top 3.
At the beginning of the final round, Ukraina’s Yevhen Marusiak set a new hill record with 103 meters. What Zyla showed then was, however, outstanding. The Pole landed at 105 meters and clearly took the lead. And none of the following athletes could even get close to his overall score.
When Karl Geiger placed as second with 101.5 meters it was obvious Zyla would achieve his third World Championships medal. Andreas Wellinger could neither overtake the Pole with his 102 meters. Zyla was still in the lead ahead of two Germans, when Stefan Kraft sat on the start gate. The Austrian stood a chance to become the World Champion for the fourth time and match Adam Malysz’s record. But Kraft landed at 99 meters and dropped to the fourth place.
And so, Zyla won the title back-to-back as the first athlete since Adam Malysz’s triumph in 2001 and 2003.
“I didn’t believe I could make a medal after the first round. I was a little bit unhappy. Then I thought ‘just let it go’. I don’t remember the jump,” Zyla claimed after capturing his second gold medal.
It occurred to be an amazing day for the team of head coach Thomas Thurnbichler. Dawid Kubacki, whose participation in the competition was under question due to back problems, was fifth and Kamil Stoch completed the Top 6.
Anze Lanisek, the highest ranked of the local heros, came in ninth, one spot ahead of his teammate Timi Zajc.
The World Cup Leader Halvor Egner Granerud missed the Top 10 as he finished 11th. He was the best Norwegian on Saturday as Johann Andre Forfang took the 12th place.
It wasn’t a successful day for Ryoyu Kobayashi, who got disqualified in the second round. His teammate Naoki Nakamura came in 25th.
Once again this season, Ukraina’s Yevhen Marusiak did extremely well. With the jump on 103 meters, he could move up to the 17th place, his career best at a major event. Turkey’s Fatih Arda Ipcioglu also made It to the final round.
On Sunday, the mixed team event will be held. The second individual men’s competition is scheduled on Friday at the large hill.
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