Ski Jumping Nordic Combined in Russia. Sports Club "Flying Skier" - Perm. Ski Jumping Nordic Combined in Russia. Sports Club "Flying Skier" - Perm. Ski Jumping Nordic Combined in Russia. Sports Club "Flying Skier" - Perm.


Bardal takes second win this summer

Photo: FISskijumping.com

Jernej Damjan came close to taking the overall lead in the FIS Grand Prix today. With 129.5 m and the longest jump of the day on 139.5 m, the Slovene came in second in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Only Anders Bardal of Norway was better with his 131 m and 135.5 m and 263.0 points.

"Of course I'm satisfied", the overall World Cup winner of 2012 said afterwards. "My jumps were not as good as in the training here, but still on a high level. In training I had some jumps that were feeling even better than the ones today. Maybe I'm among the favorites for Sochi now already, because the hills there are similar to the ones here and in Almaty, but that's good. The plan is also to compete in Hinzenbach and Klingenthal, but we'll see."

Surprisingly the third place went to Antonin Hajek of the Czech Republic. With 131.5 m and 135 m he scored a total of 247.6 points and achieved his third podium result in the Grand Prix, his first since Hakub 2006. Obviously the 26-year-old was happy about this result: "My jumps were very good. I was pretty relaxed before my first jump and it was on the same good level as my jumps in training. The second jump was much better, because it was not easy to move up from fifth after the first round to third."

Bardal participated in four Grand Prix events this year, he won two of them and was third once. Damjan also achieved his third podium result this summer and closed the gap to the overall leader Andreas Wellinger (GER). The Slovene is now only one point behind and so a 29th place in Sunday's competition would be enough for him to take the lead.

"I'm really satisfied", the Slovene said. "We have been training here since Tuesday and the jumps in the first training were very good, but yesterday and in today's trial round I didn't jump that well. Today I'm pretty happy with my performance in the competition. The last jump was really good and I would like to continue like that tomorrow." Bardal is also only 67 behind the overall leader right now and has a good chance to win this title.

Reruhi Shimizu, sixth recently in Nizhniy Tagil, missed the podium by only one point and was fourth. He achieved his best Grand Prix result this season and repeated his fourth place of last year's event in Almaty. Also Olli Muotka will have a smile on his face. His fifth place today with 243.1 points was a career best and a ray of hope for the struggeling Finnish team. Dimitry Vassiliev (242.6 points) confirmed his upward trend as sixth and was the best Russian, Matjaz Pungertar (7th; 242.0 points), was the best Slovene and could follow up on his performances from the beginning of the summer.

Maximilian Mechler was the best of the small German team as eighth. Martin Schmitt was again not able to achieve the targeted Top 10 result as 14th. Young Slovene Andraz Pograjc was second after the first round but could not keep his nerves in the final. With 238.3 points he came in ninth overall. Gregor Deschwanden was the best athlete of Switzerland as 11th, the young Swiss team showed an upward trend. Marco Grigoli was on a good tenth place after the first round, but lost his chances to achieve a top result when he fell in the final.

In the Norwegian team there was again a pretty big gap behind the winner Anders Bardal. Rune Velta as 13th, Andreas Stjernen as 19th and Tom Hilde as 22nd could not meet the expectations. US American Nicholas Alexander continued his streak of consistent performances. After his two 14th places in Nizhniy Tagil, he was 15th today. It was a disappointing day for the Kazakh fans: All five local heroes failed to qualify for the final round.

FISskijumping.com, 21.09.2013

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