YAMAGATA – Three-time World Cup overall champion Sara Takanashi finished runnerup in the women’s normal hill competition at the Japan national ski jumping championships Sunday.
Takanashi jumped 89.5 and 81.5 meters in her two rounds for a total score of 181.5, eight points behind winner Yuka Seto who had jumps of 90.5 and 85 meters for 189.5 points at Kuraray Zao Schanze in Yamagata, northeastern Japan.
“I’m very happy. This is a confidence boost,” said Seto, who beat Takanashi, a childhood friend from the same Hokkaido town of Kamikawa, for the first time in competition.
In the men’s contest which was stopped after the first round due to melting snow in the approach area, 20-year-old Naoki Nakamura soared to the day’s longest jump of 98 meters, 3 meters past the critical point, to win with 118.0 points.
Taku Takeuchi, winner of the national large hill title last week and a member of the Japanese team that won bronze in the men’s large hill at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, came second with 117.0 points after leaping 97 meters.
“This was my best jump ever,” said the up-and-coming Nakamura, smiling. As for his aim, he said, “The top athletes jump (far) under any conditions and at any venue. That would be ideal.”