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Noriaki Kasai, three compatriots qualify for men’s normal hill jump finals

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Ski jumping legend Noriaki Kasai, competing in his eighth Winter Olympics, placed 20th in the qualifying round of the men’s normal hill jump on Thursday night at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre to clinch a spot in Saturday night’s finals.

The 45-year-old, who appeared in his first Winter Games in Albertville, France, in 1992, leaped 98 meters to earn a score of 117.7 points in relatively mild conditions. The Hokkaido native claimed the silver medal in the individual large hill jump four years ago at the Sochi Olympics.

Kasai’s teammates Junshiro Kobayashi, Ryoyu Kobayashi and Daiki Ito also advanced to the finals.

Junshiro Kobayashi had the best jump of the Japan squad with a distance of 101 meters and a score of 118.4 to place 18th.

Ryoyu Kobayashi also recorded a jump of 98 meters, but received a mark of 115.3, and was 21st, while Daiki Ito struggled with a leap of 93.5 and tally of 106.0 and came in 31st.

Fifty of the 57 jumpers from the qualifying round moved into Saturday’s two-round competition.