SAPPORO – Evergreen Noriaki Kasai finished fourth in Saturday’s World Cup competition, while teammate Daiki Ito was fifth.
Peter Prevc won his eighth jump of the season, leading a trio of Slovenes on the podium with 299.0 points on Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium’s 134-meter, K-120 hill. His younger brother Domen was second with 282.8 points, while countryman Rovert Kranjec was third with 281.9.
The 43-year-old Kasai, who has reached the podium once this season, totaled 277.3 points from his jumps of 124.5 and 133.5 meters. Ito finished less than a point behind on 276.9 after leaping 125 and 133 meters. Teammate Taku Takeuchi (264.8) was eighth.
“I’ve narrowed the gap with the top jumpers quite a bit and that has raised my confidence,” Kasai said. “If I can get just a little more speed, I think I can improve. I’m not getting speed, but I have had good form in the air. I think if I get a good breeze, I can climb the podium. That’s the kind of good jumps I’ve been getting.”
Kasai was originally declared the fifth-place finisher with Norway’s Kenneth Gangnes fourth. But Gangnes’ second jump was disallowed because of a jump suit violation. With no points from his second jump he was dropped to 29th place, ahead of the jumpers who failed to qualify for a second jump. All the competitors who had originally placed fifth to 29th moved up one spot.
Peter Prevc extended his lead in the season standings. He has 1,184 points and leads his nearest competitor, Severin Freund of Germany by 383. Kasai is 11th overall with 323 points.