Olympics-Ski jumping-Kobayashi soars to World Cup victory in final event before Beijing

(Reuters) – Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi prepared in style for the Winter Olympics, claiming his seventh World Cup victory of the season on Saturday at a major event in Willingen, Germany, to climb into head of the general classification.

Kobayashi, one of Beijing’s favorites, jumped 145m and scored 115.6 points, easily beating Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud by four points. Granerud’s compatriot Marius Lindvik took third place with 107 points.

The competition had to be reduced to a single jump due to heavy rain and high winds.

“Of course, I am happy with my victory. I was also lucky with the conditions today, but that’s what it takes to finish first on days like today. It was really tough,” Kobayashi said after his 26th World Cup victory.

The 25-year-old now has a 27-point lead over Karl Geiger in the general standings after the German could only manage 19th place at home.

Kobayashi finished seventh on the normal hill and 10th on the large hill in Pyeongchang four years ago but is expected to improve his performance at this year’s Games, which start on Friday.

On the women’s side, Austria’s Marita Kramer extended her overall advantage with a 13th career World Cup triumph, winning with a jump of 123.5m ahead of Katharina Althaus and Ema Klinec.

Competitors take part in another large hill event on Sunday before departing for China.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

Joseph K. Bennett