Day 5: Cieslar storms to second Nordic Combined gold medal
Poland's Adam Cieslar picked up his second gold of the 2015 Winter Universiade with victory in the Nordic Combined individual mass start event at Strbske Pleso in Slovakia.
Cieslar relied on two strong jumps in the ski jumping component to build up a winning total of 216.9 points over the two disciplines. Leading after the 10km cross-country mass start race, Germany's David Welde had to settle for the silver medal with a total of 210.3 points. The bronze medal went to Poland's Mateusz Wantulok with 208.4 points.
Welde crossed the line in a time of 27:20.6 to win the 15km race and take the maximum 120 points going into the ski jumping round. Cieslar trailed his German rival by 39 seconds to take second place in the cross-country skiing, taking 111 points through to the next round.
Cieslar then moved into the lead after a jump of 89.5 metres compared to Welde's opening effort of 77 metres. Wantulok, a lowly sixteenth after the cross-country skiing, moved up to seventh position after jumping 91 metres.
Consistency saw Cieslar retain his lead and secure his second gold of the games in the second round with a jump of 88.5 metres. Welde's jump of 87 metres was enough to secure silver, while a Wantulok whopper of 94 metres - the second longest of the event - elevated the Pole onto the final step of the podium.
Cieslar, 22, praised his German rival Welde and also had kind words to say about his Polish team-mate, Wantulok. "David was strong at skiing part so I followed him in order to rely on the ski jumping for my victory. The weather conditions made me a bit afraid, however everything ended up well. I am so happy for Mateusz. He showed solid jumps in training and what is more important, he was able to repeat it in the final."
After struggling to ski in a big group at the start, Welde said he found it hard to motivate himself once out alone with such a large lead in the cross-country skiing component. He also struggled with the tricky conditions that hampered the ski jumping leg.
"In the jumping part, I got a bit nervous because both of my attempts were delayed due to wind," he said. "The second jump was much better than the first one and overall I am happy for the silver medal."
For his part, Wantulok said his efforts to stay in contention during the skiing meant he was "exhausted" ahead of ski jumping. "I do not like when there is no trial round in ski jumping, because my first jump is usually shorter. Thankfully, my second jump secured me the bronze medal," he said.
Meanwhile, Russia picked up yet another gold medal - the nation's tenth so far - when Anastasiya Gladysheva and Irina Avvakumova combined to win the women's team normal hill Ski Jumping competition.
The Russian pair finished with a total of 392.3 points ahead of silver medallists Aki Matsuhashi and Yuka Kobayashi of Japan (385.9 points) and bronze medallists Vladena Pustkova and Michaela Dolezelova of the Czech Republic (322.8 points).
Avvakumova, who won the women's Normal Hill gold earlier in the week, was the star performer with the competition's two longest jumps - 88.5m and 90m. "We are happy with the gold medal. Everything was good today and we fulfilled out goal," she said.
Kobayashi, who took the silver medal behind Avvakumova in the individual competition, could only manage 79.5m in her first jump but a second jump of 84.5m and two strong efforts from her team-mate ensured a second silver medal for Japan.
"My first jump was not long enough but thankfully Aki performed two balanced jumps and we could take the silver medal - my second here in Štrbské Pleso."
With only five team's taking part in the final, the battle for the bronze medal saw the Czech republic battle it out with China. Two jumps of over 80m from Xueyao Li were counterbalanced by two sub 70m jumps by Tong Ma as China could only take 283.4 points for fourth.
A second jump of 80m by Dolezelova was enough to confirm the bronze medal for the Czech pair in what was Pustkova's final career appearance for her country.