• Kyodo

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The village of Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture is expected to host a World Cup Nordic combined competition next winter for the first time in 15 seasons, an informed source said Thursday.

The event, in which athletes compete in ski jumping and cross-country skiing, will be held in the lead-up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics scheduled to open in South Korea on Feb. 9.

The dates of competition will be decided at a meeting of the International Ski Federation in April, but the event is likely to take place in early February, just before the Olympics.

Hakuba, which also hosted competitions for the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, last staged a World Cup Nordic combined contest in January 2003.

The Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium, a venue of the 1998 Olympics, was designated as a national training base for ski jumping four years ago and underwent installation of a cooling device on the approaches — a measure necessary to host a World Cup event — by last autumn.

The cross-country portion of the competition is scheduled to be held at a course near the stadium, according to the source.

The world government body for skiing, also known as FIS, appears positive about holding a World Cup event in Japan just prior to the Olympics, the source said.

Japan has hosted World Cup Nordic combined competitions in Sapporo every other winter starting with the 2014-2015 season, the last held in February this year.

Hakuba is the hometown of 2014 Sochi Olympic silver medalist Akito Watabe and his younger brother Yoshito.

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