Yuki Ito claimed victory at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Ski Jumping World Cup on home snow as formidable compatriot Sara Takanashi’s recent slump in form continued in Zaō today.
Ito, who earned her maiden World Cup win in Sapporo on Saturday (January 14), scored a total of 213.6 points after she produced jumps of 89.5 and 94 metres.
Italy’s Manuela Malsiner surprisingly took second place as efforts of 90.5m and 93m saw her fall just 0.3 points short.
Irina Avvakumova of Russia did enough for third spot as she jumped 88.5m and 92m for an overall score of 210.6.
Olympic champion Carina Vogt of Germany was fourth having leapt 90.0m and 94.5m, with Takanashi, the current overall leader and favourite for the Ski Jumping World Cup crown, languishing down in fifth.
The 20-year-old scored 208.3, achieved thanks to jumps of 85m and 95m, as she finished outside of the podium places for the second consecutive event.
“I am very happy that I was able to win both in Sapporo and now in Zao,” Ito, who pipped Takanashi on her way to her first-ever World Cup win in Sapporo, said.
“The conditions have not been easy and I was late at the take off in the first round.
“But the result is great and I want to try to show my best jumps on Saturday.”
The result allowed Ito to close the gap to Takanashi at the summit of the leaderboard.
Ito, who claimed 2013 World Championships gold in the mixed normal hill event, has 632 points, with Takanashi, who won five of the first six competitions, leading the way on 735 points.
In the men's competition in Zakopane in Poland, Germany's Stephan Leyhe topped the qualification standings as he jumped 131m for a score of 142.1 points.
Jernej Damjan of Slovenia was second after he scored 141.6 points with a jump of 130m, while team-mate Peter Prevc's 135.5m yielded 140.8 points.