HINZENBACH, AUSTRIA – Sochi Olympic women’s individual gold medal favorite Sara Takanashi came from behind to post her ninth World Cup win of the season on Saturday.
The 17-year-old ski jumper from Hokkaido was second after a first jump of 87 meters on the K-85 hill in Hinzenbach, Austria, but a second effort of 90 meters was enough to secure her victory with 231.7 points.
Takanashi’s victory, her first in three events, matched American rival Sarah Hendrickson’s single-season women’s record of nine she set in the 2011-2012 campaign.
“I wasn’t satisfied with my first jump so I am happy that I could bounce back on the second jump,” said Takanashi, who has 18 career World Cup wins.
Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz was second with 226.9 points and first-round leader Slovenia’s Maja Vtic was third with 223.5.
Elsewhere for Japan, Yuki Ito was fifth, Kaori Iwabuchi was 16th, Misaki Shigeno was 22nd and Ayumi Watase was 27th. Yurina Yamada failed to make it to the second round of jumps.
Also on Saturday, veteran Noriaki Kasai narrowly missed out on a medal when he finished fourth at a World Cup meet in Germany.
The 41-year-old, who will be competing in his seventh Winter Olympics in Sochi this month, was third after the first round with a jump of 142 meters.
But he dropped one place down the rankings to fourth with a second leap of 140 meters for a total of 253.9 points.
“I messed up (on the second jump)” said Kasai. “I felt like I was in a position to win and tensed up. I didn’t take off like I know I can.”
Poland’s Kamil Stoch won the 19th individual event of the series, 263.2 points giving him his third win of the season. Germany’s Severin Freund was second with 262.2 and Slovenia’s Jernej Damjan was third with 258.5.