Japan outpaced the Americans on the final ascent

Celebrating the last gold medals in Nordic Combined in Planica are the Japanese athletes Hazuki Ikeda and Yuzuka Fujiwara, while Manca Kobentar and Tia Malovrh finished in 8th place.


The last set of medals at the 47th FIS Junior World Championships in Nordic Skiing in Planica were awarded to the female Nordic combined athletes in the team sprint. Representing Slovenia were Manca Kobentar and Tia Malovrh, the unfortunate participant from yesterday's individual competition. Unfortunately, today didn't go entirely as planned for our team as well, as Manca Kobentar fell at 92 meters, and Tia Malovrh's landing wasn't optimal at the same distance. After the ski jumping part of the competition, this meant 7th place for Slovenian duo, trailing 44 seconds behind the leading Germany. The Japanese were 17 seconds behind in second place, and the Norwegians were a further two seconds behind in third.

All teams started fiercely on the course, and Manca Kobentar reduced Germany's lead by eight seconds during the first relay. Tia Malovrh narrowed it down by an additional two seconds, and then the gaps began to form. The Japanese and Americans took the lead, while our two athletes battled with the Norwegians in the background, eventually finishing ahead of them. Tia Malovrh crossed the finish line in 8th place with a final lag of 1:36 minutes.

Photo: Borut Živulović/BOBO

The victory went to the Japanese, as Yuzuka Fujiwara attacked American Kai McKinnon on the last ascent a few hundred meters before the finish. Although McKinnon tried to catch her on the final straight, she couldn't succeed. After Alexa Brabec's silver in the individual competition, this marks the second medal for American young women in the history of the world championships, while the Japanese secured their country's first team gold medal. The Austrians claimed the bronze, starting ninth after the jumps with a 52-second deficit and finishing third with a 27.9-second lag.

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