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Japan team captures bronze at Nordic World Ski Championships

Kyodo, Staff Report

Japan, anchored by overall World Cup leader Ryoyu Kobayashi, finished third in the men’s team competition on Sunday and claimed the country’s first medal of the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

Japan — composed of Kobayashi, his older brother Junshiro, Daiki Ito and Yukiya Sato — earned 920.2 points to finish on the world championship podium for the first time since 2009.

The German team of Geiger, Richard Freitag, Stephan Leyhe and Markus Eisenbichler, who won the men’s large hill individual title on Sunday, posted a score of 987.5 to claim the title for the first time since 2001.

“It was great, an incredible performance. We all showed such good jumps, it was awesome,” Geiger said on the International Ski Federation’s website, fis-ski.com.

“Today we will enjoy this success, then we have to adjust to the new hill in Seefeld and we want to take the positive energy from here to there.”

Host nation Austria, represented by Phillipp Aschenwald, Michael Hayboeck, Daniel Huber and Stefan Kraft, finished behind the Germans with a score of 930.9.

“This is really cool. Today everything worked well for me in both rounds. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed myself. Congratulations to the entire team, we did an amazing job today. I was so nervous, somebody could have cut off one of my fingers and I wouldn’t have noticed it,” Kraft told the website.

The Kobayashi brothers each posted 127-meter leaps in the first round of jumps to lift Japan into third place. Sato led off the second round with a 125-meter jump, and the Japanese siblings finished strong with Junshiro and Kobayashi jumping 126 and 123 meters, respectively.

“I was really happy,” Ryoyu Kobayashi said. “I knew everyone would give their best performance. I jumped with good tension.”

The 33-year-old Ito, competing in his eighth straight world championship, said that “(winning) these kinds of medals will become a weapon for Japan in the future.”

Ryoyu Kobayashi, who has 11 wins on the World Cup circuit this season, finished fourth in the men’s large hill individual event on Saturday. The ski jumpers begin training for the individual normal hill event on Tuesday.