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Ryoyu Kobayashi leaps to third title of season

Kyodo, Staff Report

Ryoyu Kobayashi posted his third victory of the season, and of his career, at the ski jumping World Cup event on Sunday to take the overall lead in the men’s rankings with 420 points.

The 22-year-old has finished on the podium in all five individual competitions this season, starting with a third-place finish at the Nov. 18 large hill event in Wisla, Poland.

Kobayashi’s jumps in both rounds on Sunday were the best among the field of 24. He jumped 132.5 meters on his first attempt and followed that with a jump of 133.5. He also topped the qualification round with a 129-meter leap.

“My timing was a little off on the first jump, but I was helped by the wind,” Kobayashi said. “I was really focused on the second one. I’d like to just take everything one event at a time.”

Norway’s Johann Andre Forfang placed second and Poland’s Piotr Zyla took third.

Zyala is second in the World Cup standings with 285 points and countryman Kamil Stoch, the defending World Cup champion who was fourth on Sunday, is third with 276. Forfang is currently in fourth place with 255 points.

Kobayashi won after placing third on Saturday.

While he led after the first round in that event with a leap of 134 meters, his second jump was just 130 meter.

That cost him a chance at a third straight victory, which would have matched the Japanese record for men set by Kazuyoshi Funaki in the 1997-98 season.

Among other Japanese competitors, Naoki Nakamura finished in 18th place, followed by Junshiro Kobayashi, Ryoyu’s elder brother.

Eight-time Olympian Noriaki Kasai and Taku Takeuchi failed to advance to the second jump, ranking in 34th and 39th respectively.

The World Cup continues next weekend in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany.