December 30, 2017 / 7:24 PM / a year ago

Ski jumping: Stoch defies wind and rain to win opening Four Hills event

Ski Jumping - 66th Four-hills Ski Jumping Tournament first round - Oberstdorf, Germany - December 30, 2017 - Poland's Kamil Stoch reacts REUTERS/Michael Dalder

OBERSTDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Defending champion Kamil Stoch upstaged home favorite Richard Freitag to win the opening leg of ski jumping’s prestigious Four Hills tournament at Oberstdorf on Saturday.

The Pole, a double gold medalist at the Sochi Games in 2014, was fourth after the first round of jumps but overhauled his rivals with a massive leap of 137 meters, the longest of the day, in the second round.

He finished with 279.7 points in difficult conditions where jumpers had to contend with driving rain and gusty winds.

Freitag, winner of three World Cup events this season, was second after jumping 128.5 meters with his first attempt and 127 with his second to finish with 275.5 points.

Stoch’s compatriot Dawid Kubacki was third after leaping 129 meters with his second jump while Austrian Stefan Kraft, leader after the first round, finished fourth.

The Four Hills tournament, traditionally held over the New Years compromises events at Oberstdorf and Garmisch in Germany followed by Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in Austria. The four events are also part of the season-long World Cup.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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