SAPPORO – Yuki Ito got the better of this season’s overall World Cup winner Sara Takanashi to claim the International Miyasama Ski Games title on Saturday.
Ito, who won her first career World Cup event and four overall this season, jumped 99.5 meters to score 131.0 points on the 100-meter, K-90 hill, keeping up the momentum from her runner-up finish at the world championships on Feb. 24.
The event in Sapporo, delayed by a day for inclement weather and contested with one jump each on Saturday, saw Takanashi aiming to defend her title from last year, but her 97.5-meter attempt meant she had to settle for 128.0 points and second.
“I’ve set up my mind and prepared just as I did for the worlds. I was blessed with good wind and it was a decent attempt,” Ito said. “Normally I think about many things after my first jump and I’m not really good at it. I took it (having just one jump) as a positive.”
Takanashi, who claimed the bronze at the worlds, sits one win away from record-most 54 World Cup titles. She, along with Ito, will compete in a large hill event on Sunday, a perfect test ahead of the last World Cup event of the season next week in Oslo, Norway, which will also be on a large hill.
“The feel for the speed and the time in the air is totally different from what you get on normal hills, so I hope to create a precise mental image of my jump beforehand,” Takanashi said.