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Takanashi wraps up third World Cup title

Teen star clinches championship with four events to spare

Kyodo

Teenager Sara Takanashi clinched her third World Cup title on Friday as she claimed her 12th win of the season and the 42nd of her career in overwhelming fashion.

Takanashi, 19, who entered with a 381-point lead on Austrian champion Daniela Iraschko-Stolz in the season’s standings in second, leaped 96.5 and 99.5-meters on the 100-meter, K-90 hill to score 251.3 points for a comprehensive win.

“It was surprising for me because my jumps were not so good,” said Takanashi, who won the title with four events to spare. “(Winning the World Cup is) amazing. I focus on (the) next competition.”

Takanashi saw her winning streak end at 10 last Saturday and failed to clinch the following day in Ljubno, Slovenia, when she finished a surprising fourth. But her victory in the 15th competition of the season secured the title with 1,410 points to Iraschko-Stolz’s 979.

“I’ve been racking up practices since the summer to win this year’s World Cup and I’m really happy I could win it here in Lahti,” Takanashi said. “I couldn’t adjust to the hill in Ljubno and yesterday’s training was called off with bad weather, too. But I got acclimated with today’s two trial jumps.

“I’ve already won the individual title now, but there’re still important events coming up, and I’d like to win them, too.”

Slovenian Maja Vtic was second with 238.7 and Yuki Ito placed third with 232.2.