Ahonen wins truncated ski-flying competition in Harrachov rain
The Finnish national ski-jumping team endured three days of rain and wind in Harrachov in the Czech Republic. Conditions were best described as abysmal
And, to top it all, the Finnish coaches’ laptop computers and some cash were stolen from their hotel room during the competition weekend.
Still, the trip was just about worth it, for Finland’s Janne Ahonen topped the podium after Sunday’s truncated ski-flying competition.
"Fortunately Janne’s victory helped us to end the eventful weekend on an up-beat note", sighed a drenched head coach Tommi Nikunen.
Originally, two World Cup events had been planned to be held in Harrachov over the weekend, but eventually only one round of jumping was carried out, on the Sunday. The rain was a nuisance, but the real problem was the changeable wind that rendered conditions at the take-off-board treacherous.
"For me the result was perfect, though", Ahonen said.
The conditions were by no means fair for all the jumpers in Sunday’s one-round event. For Ahonen and his teammate Janne Happonen, who landed in seventh place, the winds were favourable enough.
Ahonen’s jump on the HS205 hill brought him down at 199.5 metres, and the Finn beat Norway’s Tom Hilde (193 metres) by 2.3 points. Hilde’s teammate Anders Jacobsen finished third with his 191-metre effort.
"Ahonen delivered a strong basic jump and that was enough to secure victory in the difficult conditions. Being an experienced jumper did not hurt him either", Nikunen commented.
With his win, Ahonen narrowed Austria’s Thomas Morgenstern’s overall lead in the FIS World Cup points. Morgenstern, who came in fifth on Sunday, has so far managed to rustle up 1,115 World Cup points against Ahonen’s 810.
For the first time in a long while, Finland managed to get two jumpers in the top ten. Happonen’s 184-metre flight lifted him to his best result of the season.
"Impossible to say if we would have had two guys in the top ten had there been a second round. This was a one-off event and these are the results", Nikunen stated matter-of-factly.
Before the Harrachov weekend, Nikunen threatened that he would drop Matti Hautamäki out of the World Cup circuit, if the man’s results didn’t improve. On Sunday, Hautamäki finished a dismal 38th with a jump of just 143 metres.
The next World Cup event is in Poland’s Zakopane on Friday. Nikunen is yet to disclose the make-up the Finnish team there.
"Matti is not at his best. On Monday we’ll sit down to discuss how to sort out his situation", Nikunen said.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Ahonen takes Four Hills Tournament title for historic fifth time (7.1.2008)