RYOYU KOBAYASHI WON IN ZAKOPANE. FIRST PODIUM FOR ANDRZEJ STĘKAŁA

RYOYU KOBAYASHI WON IN ZAKOPANE. FIRST PODIUM FOR ANDRZEJ STĘKAŁA

AUTHOR: Sławomir Rykowski PUBLISHED AT: 13-02-2021
Ryoyu Kobayashi won Saturday's individual competition of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup on the Wielka Krokiew hill in Zakopane. The Japanese was ahead of Andrzej Stękała with a lead of only 0,3 points, for whom it was the first podium in his carrier. The winner of the January competition in the capital of the Polish Tatra mountains, Norwegian Marius Lindvik, was third

In the first round of today's competition, the Slovenian Bor Pavlovcic (137 m, 138,1 points) was leading for a very long time. He was finally overtaken by the leader of the general classification Halvor Egner Granerud (139 m, 138,6 points). The best of the Poles, Andrzej Stękała, was third after the first round, with four points behind the Norwegian.

The end of the second round was very exciting. When Stękała managed to overtake Kobayashi, on the top of the Wielka Krokiew hill there were still Pavlovcic and Granerud, both very strong, and it seemed that the Pole would end up right behind the podium. However, Slovenian and Norwegian ski jumpers placed slightly worse jumps and, therefore, the second place for Stękała became the fact.

"I am happy that I managed to win today. Despite the snowfall, the conditions were good, because it was less windy than in the previous competitions. During my jump the conditions were alright. I hope that tomorrow everything will work out fine for me" - said Ryoyu Kobayashi, who today celebrated the 17th victory in the World Cup competition. The last time the Japanese won the World Cup competition on the 29th of December in 2019 in Obersdorf.

Today the hero of the day was certainly Andrzej Stękała, who stood on the podium of the World Cup competition for the first time in his carrier. The ski jumper from the AZS Zakopane jumps excellently in this season - exactly two months ago Stękała was a strong point of the Polish team who won the bronze medal of the FIS Ski Flying World Championships in Planica.

"I feel very positive emotions. I was hoping a little bit that I could manage to stand on the podium. After Ryoyu's jump, I knew that there were still two very strong competitors on the top of the hill, but I placed a good jump as well. I am glad that I finally managed to win and I think that those, who were cheering for me are as happy as I am. In previous years I was going to competitions and I was always playing the supporting role in the team and now it is hard to believe, that I could achieve such result in the World Cup" - said Andrzej Stękała.

- I am happy with my jumps. The one from the second round was not the greatest, but I improved it in the second round, so I am satisfied with that competition. Despite the snowfall, the hill was well prepared, the snow was quickly taken away from the in-run. Tomorrow I would like to place such jumps as in the first round - said Marius Lindvik.

"There were already four Poles that stood on the podium in this season and they are all really strong. The rest of the competitors could have done better today, but we have to concentrate on tomorrow's competitions because we still have some reserve. Andrzej places very stable jumps from the very beginning, he already knew after the first round that he could manage to stand on the podium. He withstood everything psychically, did what he had to do and that was enough" - said Michal Doležal.

"Today Andrzej placed a very nice jump. I am happy that he finally stood on the podium because he was already very close a couple of times before, but it was always something missing. He did a great job. Tomorrow there is another day and we will be fighting to be on the podium again. My first jump was not the best, but I am very content with the second one" - said Piotr Żyła, who was eighth today.

"I do not know what happened today. I have a feeling that yesterday was better than today, my skies were working better. Now I am confused because I feel that everything is alright, but there is no effect. After Klingenthal I did not expect such results here, both regarding the length of the jump, and the place I took. Tomorrow I will have another chance, there are new possibilities and I will do everything to jump as good as I can" - said Kamil Stoch, who was 20th in today's competition.

"It is great that Andrzej finally managed to stand on the podium because he fought for that for a long time. After such success, he will definitely believe more in himself and I hope that it will help him to jump better and under less pressure" - said Dawid Kubacki (11th place).

Al the results are available on the official FIS website: https://www.fis-ski.com/DB/general/event-details.html?sectorcode=JP&eventid=48691&seasoncode=2021

The second individual competition on the Wielka Krokiew hill in Zakopane starts on Sunday at 4:10 P.M.