Akito Watabe

Japan

  • 26.05.1988
  • Japan
  • 173 cm

Nordic

Jarl Magnus Riiber wins nordic combined gold in Seefeld

Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) triumphed after jumping on the smaller hill in Seefeld in the final sprint against Bernhard Gruber (AUT, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) and Akito Watabe (JPN, Fischer skis, bindings and boots).

The ski jumping of the nordic combined athletes on the normal hill in Seefeld took place under very difficult wind conditions. The wind came from different directions during the jump and turned constantly back and forth, so that it came to short wind breaks again and again. The best jumper today was again Jarl Magnus Riiber, before whose jump the wind freshened up a bit and kept changing. Nevertheless, he showed a first-class jump on 107 meters, but he had to row down with his arms because of strong wind from transversal behind. With six seconds ahead of his compatriot Espen Bjørnstad (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) he went into the cross country race. Fast skiers like Akito Watabe followed with a gap of 20 seconds and 35 seconds (Vinzenz Geiger (GER, Fischer skis, bindings and boots)). The fast skiing German trio with Johannes Rydzek (GER, Fischer skis, bindings and boots), Fabian Rießle (GER) and Eric Frenzel (GER, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) followed with a 1:16 minutes gap from 17th place, tight followed by Jørgen Graabak (NOR, Fischer skis, bindungs and boots).

In the cross-country race Riiber and Rehrl (AUT) worked together until the Austrian fell back into the chasing group. A few kilometers later, Riiber himself was caught by the group, so that four athletes fought for the medals in the last four kilometers and after the renewed falling behind of FJ Rehrl they were only three. Akito Watabe led the trio in front of Riiber and Gruber in the last kilometer and a bit later the Norwegian attacked, but the Japanese countered and was the first in the last corner. Riiber sucked in the slipstream and went in first position on the home straight to take his first world title. Bernhard Gruber also took advantage of the slipstream to win the silver medal, and he was overjoyed: "I'm a bit speechless, it's just so great. Two weeks ago I still fought to join the Austrian team and now I got silver. I don't really understand, it's so awesome!" After all, Akito Watabe took his first medal in Seefeld as third. Rank five went to Ilkka Herola (FIN, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) ahead of Espen Bjørnstad and Mario Seidl (AUT, Fischer skis, bindings and boots). Johannes Rydzek moved up to eighth place followed by Graabak.

=> HS109/10km Seefeld (AUT)