Sara Takanashi won the first World Cup in Ljubno ahead of Sarah Hendrickson and Coline Mattel.
After four competitions in Japan the Ski Jumping World Cup is now back in Europe. Two competitions are held this weekend in Ljubno, Slovenia. And this Ljubno, a small village in the Alps, once again confirmed that it is the place where the most atmospheric World Cups are held. Several thousand spectators had made it to the hill and with their cheering, flags and various music instruments they created a simply awesome setting for this competition. The K-85 hill there is the smallest one in this years World Cup calendar, but with its steep inrun and short take-off it is maybe the technically most difficult one to jump.
Winner came once more overall World Cup leader Sara Takanashi from Japan with jumps of 88.5 and 88.0 meters. “I am happy with my jumps today and it would really be great if i could repeat that success tomorrow,” she said. Second behind her came Sarah Hendrickson with jumps of 85.0 and 83.5 meters. “I am really satisfied today. I had two good jumps and the atmosphere here is amazing. This hill is difficult, but I am doing my best,” she said. Once again Coline Mattel from France finished third behind the two Sara(h)s. She jumped 84.0 meters twice. “I am so happy with that result, because in the trainings I had problems to come along with the hill. It is really great to jump in front of so many people, I love the atmosphere,” she said.
The strong Slovenian team worked very hard to make the crowd happy with a podium finish. But on places four and five Spela Rogelj and Katja Pozun just missed this goal. Rogel jumped 83.0 and 82.5 meters and so was 4.3 points behind third placed Mattel. Pozun made it to 81.5 and 83.5 meters. Sixth behind them came America’s Jessica Jerome with jumps of 82.0 and 82.5 meters.
Some jumpers that already made it to the podium this winter, such as Jacqueline Seifriedsberger from Austria or Anette Sagen from Norway missed here in Ljubno. So this result may give a clue for the World Championships next week, but some things may still change.
Special acknowledgement deserves the performance of China’s Liu Qi. With jumps of 77.5 and 79.5 meters she took the fifteenth place and so scored the first World Cup points in her career.
In the overall World Cup Takanashi has now 1037 points, second placed Hendrickson has 787 points. There are only three competitions to come, so this 250 point advantage will most likely be enough for her to eventually win the cup. Third is still Seifriedsberger, who did not compete here, with 697 points.