(Reuters) – Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi claimed his second successive victory in the Four Hills ski jumping tournament in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany with a narrow win over local favourite Markus Eisenbichler.
Kobayashi, who won the first leg in Oberstdorf earlier this week, pulled off jumps of 143m and 135.5m on Saturday to score 291.2 points, only 0.2 ahead of Eisenbichler. Slovenia’s Lovro Kos finished third with 286 points.
The result means a second Four Hills Grand Slam could be on the cards for Kobayashi, who swept the tournament in 2018-19 to become the third athlete to have won all four events in the same season.
With the Beijing Winter Olympics in sight, the win was Kobayashi’s third straight World Cup victory of the season and fifth overall as he leapfrogged Germany’s Karl Geiger, who finished seventh in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, to lead the overall standings with 696 points.
“I’m super, super happy. I was really buzzed in the first round and really nervous in the second. Considering that, my form wasn’t bad,” the 25-year-old was quoted as saying by Japan’s Kyodo News.
The next stage of the Four Hills tournament takes place in Austria, on Jan. 3 in Innsbruck and on Jan. 5 in Bischofshofen.
In the women’s World Cup event in Ljubno, Slovenia, Austria’s Marita Kramer secured the inaugural Silvester Tour trophy with 519.4 points after second and third-placed finishes in each round of the two-day tournament.
Defending World Cup champion and local favourite Nika Kriznar finished in second place on 515.2 points while Japan’s Sara Takanashi was third with 513 points after her 61st World Cup victory on the second day of competition on Saturday.
Kramer holds a commanding lead of 770 points in the overall World Cup standings, having finished outside of the podium only once after nine events so far this season.
The next World Cup event is scheduled to take place in Willingen, Germany on Jan. 28.
The Beijing Olympics begin on Feb. 4.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru: Editing by Neil Fullick)