Late spurt se­cures victory for Fren­zel

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

PYEONGCHANG: Eric Fren­zel of Ger­many sur­vived a thrilling last lap to take the gold medal in the Olympic men’s Nordic com­bined in­di­vid­ual event yes­ter­day and suc­cess­fully de­fend the ti­tle he won in Sochi four years ago.

Sochi sil­ver medal­list Ak­ito Watabe of Ja­pan fin­ished 4.8 se­conds be­hind to claim sec­ond place once again and Lukas Klapfer of Aus­tria se­cured the bronze. When the ski jump­ing got un­der­way after a half-hour de­lay due to high winds, Franz-Josef Rehrl of Aus­tria recorded a su­perb leap of 130.6 me­tres to take a shock lead ahead of the cross-coun­try ski­ing.

World Cup leader Watabe, third after the ski jump­ing, started the ski­ing slightly be­hind the leader but by the mid­dle of the third lap he had closed the gap and moved into medal con­tention. Fren­zel moved clear of the group of five who had bro­ken away, but the lead changed hands sev­eral times be­fore the Ger­man tried to go alone on the last lap.

But he could not shake off the pur­su­ing trio of Watabe, Klapfer and Jarl Mag­nus Ri­ibe un­til a pow­er­ful surge on the fi­nal hill en­abled him to cross the line on his own. “It’s amaz­ing. I feel re­ally great. It was quite a hard race be­cause the wind on the track was not so easy and on the last round my goal was to push re­ally hard the last round, the last me­tres and the last up­hill,” Frentzel told re­porters.

“At the end, the only way was to go in front and make my own race. At the end I’m re­ally, re­ally happy about this victory to­day,” he added. The de­lay at the start of the ski jump­ing had no ef­fect on Fren­zel’s per­for­mance.

“I think after the jump I was in a re­ally great po­si­tion. I knew it was a good jump. I was a lit­tle bit lucky with the wind - that was one of the big rea­sons why you to­day needed quite a lit­tle bit of luck so at the end I’m re­ally happy,” he said.

It was the fourth Olympic medal for the 29-year-old Ger­man, who also won sil­ver in Sochi and bronze at the Van­cou­ver Games in 2010. Nor­way’s Jan Sch­mid, who is sec­ond in the World Cup stand­ings, dropped out of con­tention after a poor ski jump.

— AFP

PYEONGCHANG: Gold medal­list Ger­many’s Eric Fren­zel re­acts on the podium fol­low­ing the nordic com­bined men’s in­di­vid­ual nor­mal hill NH/10km fi­nal at the Alpen­sia cross coun­try cen­tre dur­ing the Pyeongchang 2018 Win­ter Olympic Games yes­ter­day.

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