Japanese ski jumper Sara Takanashi won her eighth World Cup title last week. The 17-year old schoolgirl added another victory to her list, taking her World Cup titles record to 17. Takanashi also broke the record previously held by American Sarah Hendrickson with the most number of wins.
Takanashi lost to Hendrickson in last year’s World Cup tour. The 19-year old American was the previous record holder with most World Cup titles. Hendrickson is still recovering from a crucial ligament injury that hated her chances of joining the competition this January. Takanashi, on the other hand, is hoping that the American would come back soon and challenge her to do more. “I can try hard with her just being near me. I want her to come back soon,” said the Japanese of the Hendrickson whom she described as an athlete she “admires very much.” Recalling last year’s competition, much credit was given to her 43-kilogram weight which is advantageous in helping her in-run slide to be more accurate and quick. ‘I could make the right approach so I could take off without making a loss,” she said. Her jump was measured at 98 meters and earned her 127.5 points in the first round. The jump was also named the best among the 40 participants that day. The competition was cut short due t the bad weather and she was named the winner after all the first-round results came in.
Takanasahi’s record 17 World Cup titles also beat male ski jumper Noriako Kasai’s national records of 16 World cup wins. 41-year old Kasai wished Sara the best in all her competitions, believing that “the level of women’s competition will rise by leaps and bounds.” Takanashi, on the other hand is not that worried about world records. Her focus for the moment is improving her jumps, saying that she “usually think about how she can enjoy jumping rather than the record.” She further stated, “I want to work harder still and raise my level higher and higher.”