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Kasai updates own ski jumping age record

Kyodo

Noriaki Kasai finished second in the flying hill individual event in Norway on Sunday to eclipse his own record as the oldest skier to finish on a World Cup podium.

At 44 years and 9 months, Kasai, who last rewrote the mark a year ago, earned 448.0 points for his leaps of 239.5 and 241.5 meters on the 225-meter ski-flying hill while Poland’s Kamil Stoch posted his seventh victory of the season with 466.6 points.

Michael Hayboeck of Austria took third with 430.4 points. Daiki Ito, whose first leap of 243 meters is the longest-ever recorded by a Japanese, finished 12th.

“I can’t believe it,” said Kasai, who was fifth after the first round of jumps.

“I didn’t expect to stand on the podium among all these top skiers. I’m glad I was able to do this for Japan,” he said.

Kasai’s second jump moved him up the rankings in a season when he has struggled with takeoffs and has been unable to place any higher than 10th.

“It’s my favorite event so I want to do well,” Kasai had said before the competition, which is held on one of the world’s largest hills, designed to allow much longer jumps verging on the separate discipline of ski flying.

“This (win) erases (all the painful memories). Suddenly I feel confidence,” he said.