SCHONWALD, GERMANY – Ski jumper Sara Takanashi was denied her third consecutive title, having to settle for fourth place in a women’s World Cup competition on Sunday.
It was the first time the 16-year-old Takanashi finished outside the medals in a World Cup competition since Jan. 7, 2011, breaking a string of 12 consecutive podium finishes.
“On my first jump, I took off too late. It was a very simple mistake,” she said. “My second jump was OK.”
“I want to be able to routinely produce good jumps.”
Norway’s Anette Sagen landed a monster leap of 98 meters and wrapped up her first title with an effort of 94 meters on her second attempt for a winning total of 224.9 points.
Takanashi, who this season has three victories with one second- and one third-place finish, completed jumps of 91.5 and 95.5 meters to register 221.3.
Shota Tanaka got a lift from a favorable headwind as he came from behind to win the men’s competition for the first time at the UHB Cup on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Tanaka moved into second with a leap of 131.5 meters on his first attempt and sealed victory with an effort of 125 meters at the Okurayama K-120 large hill. He had a winning total of 257.7 points.
“I had some good jumps and a bit of luck on my side,” said Tanaka, referring to the swirling wind that was in his favor on both jumps. “It hasn’t hit home yet, but I’m happy.”
Hiroaki Watanabe placed second with 234.8 while Kenshiro Ito was third at 233.6.
Veteran Takanobu Okabe soared the farthest with a jump of 133 meters on his first attempt only to fall flat with a leap of just 108 meters on his second run that left him in fifth.
Yoshiko Kasai won the women’s competition for the first time since 2003 with jumps of 92 and 116 meters for a winning tally of 161.4.