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Takanashi struggles at World Cup

Kyodo

Sara Takanashi finished 12th in a women’s World Cup meet on Saturday for her worst placing in over a year.

The second jump was delayed and eventually canceled due to high winds at Sapporo’s Miyanomori-Schanze’s K-90 normal hill. The 16-year-old Takanashi, who leads the World Cup standings and has four individual gold medals on the circuit this season, earned 99.1 points from an 85-meter jump. She had no chance to move up in the standings when the second jump was canceled.

In addition to the wind, warm weather caused the ice on the hill, which lacks cooling equipment, to melt.

“You can’t get up to speed if you can’t ski well,” said the Hokkaido native. “You can’t do anything about the conditions. I am so sorry for all the people who came to cheer me on.”

A crowd announced at 3,500 by meet organizers came to see the monster jumps that have become Takanashi’s trademark, but this was far from her best.

“My jump was neither good nor bad,” she said. “I don’t have a clear sense of what happened to my speed.”

It was her worst finish since Jan. 7, 2012, when she was 17th in a World Cup jump in Hinterzarten, Germany.

Takanashi still leads the overall standings with 692 points from nine events. Coline Mattel of France, who won Saturday’s event with 120.2 points, is second in the season standings with 548 points, while 18-year-old American Sarah Hendrickson, last season’s champion, is third with 537 points.

Austria’s Jacqueline Seifriedsberger was second on Saturday behind Mattel, while Norway’s Anette Sagen was third.