Ski Jumping - Matura's magical moment in Sapporo

Jan Matura claimed the first ski jumping World Cup podium finish and win of his career on his 169th start as the circuit moved to Asia and the Japanese resort of Sapporo.

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Ski Jumping - Matura's magical moment in Sapporo
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Winner Jan Matura of the Czech Republic (C), second-placed Tom Hilde of Norway (L) and third-placed Robert Kranjec of Slovenia (R) celebrate on the podium (AFP)

After a slow start to the season, Matura finished a best of 35th from the opening eight rounds, the 32-year-old's results have picked up over the last five meetings.

He finished a season-best sixth last time out in Zakopane and, despite the absence of World Cup leader Gregor Schlierenzauer, claimed a surprise win over a strong field in Sapporo.

Matura got off to the perfect start in Japan, producing a first round jump of 132m for 128.7 points to rank first ahead of Robert Kranjec and Tom Hilde.

Kranjec, Hilde and defending World Cup champion Anders Bardal all produced bigger leaps of 137m, 136m, and 138m respectively but saw their totals hampered by wind compensation.

Kranjec sat second with 127.1 with Hilde third with 125.7 and Bardal fourth with 125.0 but, try as they might, none could overhaul Matura in the second round either.

The Czech Republic ski jumper fared better leaping 135m and, despite that producing a sixth-best second round score of 120.8, it was enough to see him take a maiden win with 249.5 overall.

Hilde recorded the biggest leap of 139m to swap places with Kranjec just 0.7 points behind Matura with 248.8 with the Slovenian's second effort poor, 130.5 giving him 244.4 overall.

Bardal maintained his position in fourth, jumping 130m second time out for a total of 242.3, which does narrow down Schlierenzauer's lead at the top of the overall rankings.

The two-time Four Hills champion is missing Sapporo because of flu but still has a sizeable lead with Bardal 135 points behind in second while Matura is now 20th overall after his win.

Matura, who finished fourth in Sapporo back in 2011, almost doubled his points tally with the victory going from 108 points to 208 to break into the top 20.

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