SKI JUMPING: Kobayashi stays in front in Engelberg

Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi (Photo: Krzysztof Sachimata via Wikimedia)

We’re still early in the 2018-19 World Cup season, but the question being asked is whether Japan’s 27-year-old Ryoyu Kobayashi is the real deal, or an early-season flash.

You could be thinking the latter based on his seventh-place performance in the first of two competitions off the 140 m hill in Engelberg (GER), which was won by Karl Geiger, his second career World Cup victory.

But Kobayashi made a statement in the second event, winning his sixth medal in the eight events held this season and scoring his fourth win in his last five events. He finished more than nine points ahead of his primary challenger this season, Poland’s Piotr Zyla, who was second in both events.

Zyla has closed up the gap on Kobayashi, now trailing 556-445. Next up will be the prestigious Four Hills Tournament in Germany and Austria from 30 December-6 January. Summaries from Engelberg:

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
Engelberg (SUI) ~ 15-16 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s 140 m hill I: 1. Karl Geiger (GER), 302.0; 2. Piotr Zyla (POL), 297.3; 3. Daniel Huber (AUT), 295.5; 4. Johann Andre Forfang (NOR), 295.3; 5. Evgeniy Klimov (RUS), 294.6.

Men’s 140 m hill II: 1. Ryoyu Kobayashi (JPN), 294.4; 2. Zyla (POL), 285.1; 3. Kamil Stoch (POL), 279.5; 4. Geiger (GER), 278.6; 5. Dawid Kubacki (POL), 278.5.