Ski jumping: Stękała on podium in Zakopane for first time in career

Poland’s Andrzej Stękała finished second in the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup held in Zakopane, southern Poland. He lost to Japanese jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi.

Ski jumping weekend kicks off in Zakopane

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The contests on February 13 and 14 were supposed to take place in Zhangjiakou, China, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese authorities decided to cancel the event, which was planned to be a pre-Olympic test. The International Skiing Federation (FIS) decided that the competitions would take place in Zakopane, southern Poland, for the second time this season. After the first round, Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud was the leader, 0.5 points ahead of Slovenian jumper Bor Pavlovčič and 4 points ahead of Stękała.

Piotr Żyła was 14th after the first attempt, Dawid Kubacki finished the first round in 15th place, Kamil Stoch surprisingly was 26th.

Other Poles did not qualify to the final round. Paweł Wąsek finished 32nd, Jakub Wolny was 36th, Klemens Murańka and Maciej Kot were ex aequo on 38th place, Tomasz Pilch finished 40th, Stefan Hula was 41st and Aleksander Zniszczoł was classified in 45th position.

Stękała loses by a thread

The winner of the contest was Kobayashi, who was fourth after the first round, just behind Stękała. He flew 134.5m in the second phase.

But Polish fans cannot be disappointed. Andrzej Stękała was very close to victory. He jumped 133.5m and lost to the Japanese athlete only by 0.3 points. He won a place on the podium in the World Cup for the first time in his career.

Third place was for Norway’s Marius Lindvik. Another Norwegian Granerud performed worse in the second phase and dropped to 7th position.

Good second jumps allowed Żyła and Kubacki to go up in the final standings. After their attempts, they were on the top of classification for some time, Żyla was first just ahead of Kubacki. They finally finished in 8th and 11th places respectively.

Stoch also improved his position in the second round. He flew 132m and finished the contest in 20th place.