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Takanashi sparks Japanese victory

Kyodo

Teenager Sara Takanashi posted a first-round jump of 105.5 meters to help Japan win the mixed team event at the FIS Ski Jumping Summer Grand Prix in Germany on Saturday.

Takanashi, second in the women’s individual competition on Friday, Yuki Ito, Noriaki Kasai and Yuta Watase scored a combined total of 907.6 points to finish well ahead of Slovenia and Germany.

Slovenia took second with 883.6 and host Germany had 873.3 for third place.

“I think it was a good performance, although I didn’t achieve a perfect Telemark position, so I still have to work on that,” said Takanashi, the reigning women’s World Cup overall champion. “The senior jumpers on the team were amazing and I was able to jump with peace of mind.”

Six-time Olympian Kasai’s first jump of 103 meters also helped Japan take the lead after the first round.

The 41-year-old said, “I am so glad we won. I was nervous with this being the first event of the season but I jumped better than I have been doing in practice.”

The mixed team event is not on the menu at next year’s Sochi Winter Olympics.