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Takanashi claims record 14th victory

Kyodo

Teenager Sara Takanashi claimed victory to win a record 14th career individual World Cup title at the Sapporo meet on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Takanashi soared with leaps of 99 and 94.5 meters on the HS 100-meter, K-90 hill for a total of 254.5 points to underscore her gold-medal bid at next month’s Sochi Olympics. It was her first World Cup meet since being selected for Sochi and 31st competition overall.

The Hokkaido native surpassed American Sarah Hendrickson for the most victories and earned her fifth title of the season.

“I did what I had to do,” said Takanashi. “Last year I performed poorly (coming in fifth place here), but this year I was able to finish with a good result. I hope the people who came out to watch were able to enjoy themselves today.”

Takanashi moved within one win of compatriots Noriaki Kasai and Kazuyoshi Funaki, who are tied for the most World Cup titles by Japanese ski jumpers with 15.

“I want to work hard to improve my jumps to higher levels rather than focus on records,” she said.

Carina Vogt of Germany had jumps of 94.5 meters on both runs and finished second with 240.7, while Russia’s Irina Avvakumova was third on 224.1.

Yuki Ito, who has also booked her ticket to Sochi for Japan, placed fourth for a career high after efforts of 84 and 95 meters.

Takanashi was delayed several times due to unstable winds at Miyanomori hill in Sapporo but gained distance on the latter parts of her jumps to make solid landings on the course she has been familiar with since she was in elementary school.