Watabe claims maiden World Cup win

Akito Watabe dominated the second of two individual Nordic Combined events in Val di Fiemme from start to finish to record his first ever World Cup win in impressive style.

Eurosport
Watabe claims maiden World Cup win
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2012 Akito Watabe

Watabe had climbed the World Cup podium individually three times this season but a win was proving elusive with the 23-year-old finishing the first event in Italy in fifth.

However it was to finally be his day on Sunday as he dominated the ski jump and then the cross-country ski – even affording himself a celebration before completing the win.

Watabe of Japan was the only athlete in the field to break the 130 metre barrier in the ski jump – recording a distance of 133.5m for an overall total of 138.2 and 20-second cushion.

However Watabe hardly needed the extra 20 seconds in the cross-country ski as he stormed away and built a huge lead before easing off to record a time of 28:27.8 minutes.

The Japanese athlete celebrated well before the line and, despite his rivals closing as he took his foot off the pedal, he knew it wouldn’t cost him a much-deserved win.

Norway’s Mikko Kokslien was the best of the rest taking silver just three seconds behind Watabe for his third podium finish in Italy after a bronze in the first event and gold in the team sprint.

American Bill Demong completed the top three, finishing nearly a further second back but well ahead of German trio Johannes Rydzek, Eric Frenzel and Tino Edelmann.

France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis, who was eighth, still has a healthy lead at the top of the World Cup rankings with 888 points but Watabe has moved into third – one point behind Alessandro Pittin.

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