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Kasai soars to World Cup record

Kyodo

Noriaki Kasai, 41, became the oldest ski jumper to win on the World Cup circuit Saturday.

Kasai led the field with a 196-meter effort in the first round of jumps and added a leap of 197 meters in the second round to earn a winning total of 391.6 points, 10.1 ahead of runner-up Peter Prevc of Slovenia. Local favorite Gregor Schlierenzauer finished third with 380.3.

At the age of 41 years, 7 months, Kasai beat the record held by compatriot Takanobu Okabe, who won a World Cup event in March 2009 at 38 years, 4 months. It was Kasai’s first World Cup victory since February 2004 and 16th overall in World Cup individual events — also a record for Japanese ski jumpers.

“I can’t remember what happened from the moment I leapt into the air, and I’m just pleased that I dealt well with anxiety and nervousness,” Kasai said of his second jump, which he faced with a slim lead of 0.2 point over Prevc.

Kasai’s latest victory came after his third-place finish in a large hill event in Germany and fourth-place standing in the Four Hills tournament earlier this winter. He won a team-event silver at the 1994 Lillehammer Games for his only Olympic medal.