51 years old and still not enough! Noriaki Kasai won. He’s one step away from returning to the World Cup –
Noriaki Kasai, who will turn 52 in June, amazed everyone once again by winning the TVh Cup competition held at the Sapporo ski jumping hill. His victory over competitors like Yukiya Sato and Keiichi Sato may pave the way for his return to the World Cup and the breaking of yet another incredible record. Keiichi Sato claimed second place (3.1 points behind), followed by Reruhi Shimizu in third place (8 points behind).
Yukiya Sato led after the first round but faltered under pressure, finishing in seventh place after a jump of only 106.5 meters in the second round. It is worth noting that another Japanese veteran, Kazuyoshi Funaki, also appeared on the starting line. Despite his phenomenal technique in the past, the 48-year-old finished in 21st place.
Thanks to his outstanding performance, Kasai has a strong chance of being selected for Japan’s team at the upcoming World Cup event in Sapporo on February 17-18, potentially setting yet another incredible record as no ski jumper at his age has competed in such a prestigious event before. Kasai’s exceptional form was also evident in his participation in three Continental Cup competitions in Sapporo in late January. He finished 9th in one competition and 11th and 21st in the others.
Born on June 6, 1972, Kasai has three Olympic medals to his name, including a team medal from 1994 in Lillehammer and two medals (team and individual) from 2014 in Sochi. He has participated in the Olympics a total of eight times and has won seven medals in world championships along with seventeen World Cup victories. His most recent triumph was in November 2014 when he was 42 years old.