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Akito Watabe captures second Nordic combined title of season

kyodo

Akito Watabe claimed his second Nordic combined World Cup title of the season on Friday, winning the opener of a three-day event.

Watabe’s ski jump of 104.5 meters earned 137.1 points, putting him in second place behind Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber with a 21-second time differential.

The 29-year-old Watabe closed the gap in the 5-km cross-country race, sprinting to finish 0.5 second ahead of Riiber for his 11th career World Cup victory.

German Fabian Riessle came in third.

“I’m quite happy to win a big three in Austria,” said Watabe, who will represent Japan in his fourth Olympics at the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month. “(Coming from behind) I was able to put everything into chasing, and sprint for the win.

“I will try to do my best in the next two days to win the triple big three.”

The Nordic combined triple continues on Saturday and Sunday in Seefeld with a cumulative scoring system that narrows the field to 30 competitors by the final day. The cross-country race on Saturday lengthens to 10 km, while Sunday’s event features two ski jumps and a 15-km race.

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