SAPPORO – Akito Watabe narrowly missed out on his first win of the season on Friday, placing second in a World Cup individual Nordic combined event.
Watabe, whose 134-meter attempt placed him second with 129.1 points after the ski jumping segment, led the 10-km cross country race but was overtaken at the death by Bjoern Kircheisen of Germany, who clocked 25 minutes, 59.3 seconds.
Watabe crossed the line 0.7 second behind Kircheisen, the runner-up finish his best of the season.
Kircheisen, fourth after his jump, overcame a 42-second deficit to claim his first trophy in four seasons and 17th of his career. Mikko Kokslien of Norway placed third.
“I’m glad I was able to make the podium on my home soil,” Watabe said. “I didn’t care about the standings this time and put more emphasis on the performance.”
“There were some mistakes but I came up with a good jump and did reasonably well in getting the race under my control so I had positives.”
Also for Japan, Hideaki Nagai was sixth, Takehiro Watanabe was seventh and Watabe’s younger brother Yoshito was eighth.
Taihei Kato placed 12th and Hisaki Nagamine, who led after the ski jump, finished 21st.