SAPPORO – Akito Watabe claimed his first win in two years at a World Cup individual Nordic combined event on Saturday.
The 28-year-old, who finished runner-up a day earlier on home soil, topped the podium this time as he overcame a 25-second deficit in the 10-km cross country to log 25 minutes, 55.9 seconds.
Watabe crossed four seconds ahead of Tim Hug of Switzerland for his eighth career title. Manuel Faisst of Germany came third in 26:04.2.
Watabe placed fourth after the jumping segment with 122.5 points following a 134.5-meter attempt, and started the race seven seconds ahead of Hug.
“I’m simply happy. (But) a win was the minimum here,” said Watabe as he cited the absence of this season’s three top skiers — all from Germany — at the meet.
“I botched my jump so it wasn’t an outing that I can be satisfied with 100 percent,” Watabe said.
His compatriot Hisaki Nagamine again came out on top after the ski jumping as he leaped 138 meters to score 128.8 points. But he also continued to struggle in the second part, plummeting to 23rd, two places lower than Friday.
Takehiro Watanabe finished seventh. Hideaki Nagai was ninth and Taihei Kato 10th.
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