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Sara Takanashi finishes third to end podium drought

Kyodo

Sara Takanashi landed in third place at a women’s World Cup meet on Saturday as Germany’s Juliane Seyfarth picked up her third straight win on the inaugural Blue Bird Tour in Russia.

Takanashi posted jumps of 95.5 and 94.5 meters on the normal hill in Chaykovsky and stood on the World Cup podium for the first time in six events. Seyfarth jumped 95 and 97 meters to beat teammate Katharina Althaus, who went 95 meters on both runs.

“I thought I was getting a hold of the jumping platform in yesterday’s practice, but I wasn’t expecting such a good result,” Takanashi said.

“I was fortunate to have two good jumps that led to this result while trying to find my stride.”

Despite strong winds that delayed the competition’s start by four hours, Takanashi breached the hill’s 95-meter K-point on her first attempt. She had last made the top three on Feb. 17 in Oberstdorf, Germany, where she finished third.

“I haven’t been able to find my way of flying, but in the end I just want to have fun and carry over what I’ve learned into the next meet,” Takanashi said.

Among other Japanese jumpers, Nozomi Maruyama finished 12th and Yuki Ito landed 14th. Yuka Seto came in 21st.

The women’s World Cup season, already claimed by Norway’s Maren Lundby, ends Sunday with a large-hill event in Chaykovsky.

Takanashi, who holds the record for most individual World Cup wins with 56, is currently fourth in the standings. The 22-year-old has finished fourth or better every season in her eight-year career on the circuit, including four overall wins.