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Japan leaps to team crown

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

Yuki Ito posted two big leaps to help Japan win the inaugural women’s ski jumping World Cup team event on Saturday.

The team of Ito, Kaori Iwabuchi, Yuka Seto and Sara Takanashi dominated the event with a total score of 956.0 points at Adler Ski Stadium. Russia was runner-up with 863.7 points, while France (846.4) settled for third.

Ito, the first jumper for Japan, recorded leaps of 104.0 and 105.0 meters at the first women’s team event held in the World Cup.

“The four of us were looking forward to competing in the team event,” said Ito. “My role as the first jumper was to give momentum to the team, so I think I did what I had to.”

Takanashi, who was last season’s overall World Cup champion, managed two jumps of 102.5 meters.

“We claimed the inaugural title together,” said Takanashi, who has earned 53 individual World Cup titles in her career. “I noticed that winning team events brings more joy than winning individual titles.”

Iwabuchi had jumps of 100.0 and 104.5 meters, while Seto posted 90.0 and 93.0 meters.

Germany (836.5), the medal favorite in the event, finished fourth.

In men’s singles competition, Norwegian Anders Fannemel grabbed his first World Cup win in almost two years by beating overall leader Richard Freitag in Engelberg, Switzerland, on Saturday.

The 26-year-old soared out to 133 meters on his first jump and did just enough with his second to edge out Freitag by only 0.1 points.

The German still extended his advantage over compatriot Andreas Wellinger in the standings to 91 points, after making it four successive top-two efforts.

Four Hills champion Kamil Stoch took his second podium finish of the season in third place.