W. Schuster: We want to play our part in this ski jumping festival
Werner Schuster -
The German Ski Association (DSV) will go into the 4-Hills-Tournament, that starts on Saturday with the qualification in Oberstdorf, with a team 13 jumpers. Among them also four-time World Champion Martin Schmitt.
Besides the A-team, with Severin Freund, Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger, Karl Geiger, Marinus Kraus, Michael Neumayer and Andreas Wank, head coach Werner Schuster also named a national group consisting of Martin Schmitt, Maximlian Mechler, Markus Eisenbichler, Danny Queck, Daniel Wenig and Jan Maylaender.
"62 years after its premiere, the popularity of the 4-Hills-Tournament is unwaning. It even seems that this traditional event was gaining in importance recently. We are looking forward to this event and to being in the center of attention with our sport. Therefore we want to show good performances and play our part in this ski jumping festival", Werner Schuster is quoted in a media release of the German Ski Association.
After the strong performances of the German jumpers, especially at the beginning of the winter, the public expectations increased for the two home events and also the whole 4-Hills-Tournament. Werner Schuster doesn't want to look at the overall ranking yet and sees strong competition. "With five podium finishes achieved by four athletes we are capable of fighting for the win in every competiton. Concerning the overall ranking, you can't start to speculate before the first two events in Germany are over. After the performances so far, many speak of a duel Germany vs. Austria. But the international competition is much bigger: Athletes of Poland, Norway, Japan or Switzerland have a good chance to fight for the overall title."
After a short break over Christmas to recharge their batteries, the athletes are now full of anticipation for the first highlight of the season. "I'm really looking forward to the 4-Hills-Tournament, it's simply a myth and a great crowd magnet. Being able to participate is a great feeling and an honor. My goal is to improve what didn't work well over the past years. The shape has always been good, but I was lacking the consistency. I've been working on that and I think I made a step forward", said Severin Freund.
Youngster Andreas Wellinger, second-best German in the overall World Cup in fifth, is optimistic before his second 4-Hills-Tournament. "The preconditions for a successful 4-Hills-Tournament are good. I'm fit and in a good shape. The second place in Engelberg showed my that I'm on the right track. I can do well on each of the four hills, although they are all pretty different."
After he was not able to compete in Engelberg last weekend due to a periostitis, Richard Freitag is now healthy again and can take part in the opening event of the 4-Hills in Oberstdorf. "I feel fit and I'm highly motivated to show good jumps at the 4-Hills-Tournament. After the course of the season so far I'm definitely not one of the top favorites. This is a situatio I want to take advantage of as good as I can. In Lillehammer I showed I can be among the best even without a perfect preparation."