• Kyodo

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Two-time Olympic silver medalist Akito Watabe finished third at a Nordic combined skiing World Cup round in Ruka, Finland, on Saturday, stepping onto the podium for the first time this season.

Watabe finished second in the jumping round with a leap of 139.5 meters and began the cross-country leg 14 seconds behind Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, the two-time defending World Cup overall champion.

After being reeled in by Austrian Franz-Josef Rehrl and German Manuel Faisst during the race, the 32-year-old managed to break free of the three-man group in the final uphill sprint to finish 51.4 seconds behind Riiber, who captured his second straight gold and 29th World Cup win after taking the season opener on Friday.

Germany’s Eric Frenzel finished 50.1 seconds behind Riiber in second place, while Watabe’s younger brother Yoshito finished ninth.

Akito Watabe, who won the overall title in 2017-2018, collected his 18th career World Cup win in March and moved within one win of tying Kenji Ogiwara’s Japan record of 19 World Cup victories.

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