VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Veteran ski jumper Takanobu Okabe did not earn a spot for the team event when Japan picked the other four members of the Olympic squad Sunday.
The 39-year-old Okabe will have to leave Vancouver without taking part in any competition, having been sidelined in both the individual normal hill and large hill events held earlier.
Noriaki Kasai, eighth in the large hill event, will be joined by Daiki Ito, Shohei Tochimoto and Taku Takeuchi in Japan’s bid for its first Olympic ski jumping team medal since it won gold in Nagano in 1998.
Asked by a reporter if the decision to drop Okabe is to give a chance to the young jumpers Takeuchi and Tochimoto, Japanese ski jumping head coach Chiharu Saito said, “It’s not like that. This is just to improve our chance of winning a medal.”