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Takanashi moves step closer to title

Kyodo

Sara Takanashi edged closer to the overall women’s ski jumping World Cup title Saturday with her third consecutive victory and seventh of the season.

The 16-year-old Takanashi posted the day’s longest jump of 88.5 meters in the first round and followed up with an 88-meter effort for a winning total of 225.1 points.

“I performed to about 80 percent (of my potential),” Takanashi said, but added that she was disappointed with her landing style on both jumps — something she has been working to improve on.

American Sarah Hendrickson, who won the inaugural World Cup title last season, was second with 214.2 points and Frenchwoman Coline Mattel was third with 212.1.

Hendrickson said, “I’m really very satisfied because I could show two good jumps. My goal for tomorrow (Sunday) is to focus on my technique again, just like today. Congratulations to Sara, she is having great performances.”

Takanashi, who won both events last Sunday in Zao and now has eight career wins in total, set the Japanese record for single season wins on World Cup circuits in skiing, overtaking former men’s Nordic combined ace Kenji Ogiwara and ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, who both had six.

With three World Cup events remaining this season, Takanashi leads the standings with 1,037 points, with Hendrickson in second with 787.

Elsewhere for Japan, Misaki Shigeno was 16th, Yuki Ito was 22nd, Yurika Hirayama was 28th and Ayumi Watase was 30th.