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Takanashi catapults to15th World Cup victory

AFP-JIJI

Teenage ski jumper Sara Takanashi soared to a record-stretching 15th World Cup victory Sunday, her second win in two days, stepping up her bid for gold at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.

“I have nothing to worry about,” the 17-year-old high school student said about next month’s Sochi Games where women’s ski-jumping makes its Olympic debut.

“I want to continue making steady jumps.”

It was her sixth victory in seven World Cup events contested so far in the 2013-2014 season as she aims to retain the overall title she first captured last season.

Takanashi, who is 152 cm tall, jumped 97 meters in the first round to register the day’s longest distance as snow continued to fall on the Miyanomori hill.

Her second jump went 91 meters and she collected a total of 237.1 points.

Coline Mattel of France finished second on 219.8 points with jumps of 90 and 91 meters, while Russia’s Irina Avvakumova was third at 215.3 after jumping 91 and 87.5 meters.

On Saturday, Takanashi won her 14th World Cup event to break her rival Sarah Hendrickson’s record of 13 wins.

“I feel really happy,” Takanashi, from the nearby town of Kamikawa, declared about her back-to-back home wins.

“The (track) condition was not good and I jumped with care,” she added.

American Hendrickson, the 19-year-old reigning world champion and the winner of the World Cup overall title in the inaugural 2011-2012 season, is recovering from a cruciate ligament injury after a fall in August.

She is hoping to come back to competition this month.

After seven events in the 19-round season, Takanashi leads the overall standings with a whopping 660 points.

Russia’s Irina Avvakumova is second with 435 pints and Germany’s Carina Vogt lies in third with 406.