Gottwald takes lead in Nordic combined World Cup meet


Austrian Nordic combined skier Felix Gottwald, winner of the Turin Olympic sprint event, took the halfway lead after the 10-kilometer cross country race before ski jumping was canceled due to swirling winds in a World Cup meet Saturday.

News photoYosuke Hatakeyama makes his way up a hill during the 10-kilometer cross country race of a nordic combined World Cup meet in Sapporo.

Gottwald clocked 29 minutes, 2.7 seconds to finish five seconds ahead of Finland’s Hannu Manninen, who has already secured the overall World Cup crown for the season, and take a 1.3-point advantage into the ski jumping leg postponed to Sunday. Germany’s Bjoern Kircheisen placed third with 3.3 points to make up on the leader.

Yosuke Hatakeyama came home in 18th for the best result among the Japanese skiers in the cross country, followed by Norihito Kobayashi in 19th, Daito Takahashi in 24th and Takashi Kitamura in 30th.

On Sunday, a sprint event featuring one jump and a 7.5-km cross country race will be held after the completion of the ski jumping leg of the individual event originally scheduled for Saturday.