Overall ski jumping World Cup champion Sara Takanashi of Japan fell just short in her bid for a world title Friday, taking a silver medal behind American rival Sarah Hendrickson.
The 16-year-old Takanashi, coming off four consecutive World Cup wins, landed jumps of 104.5 and 103 meters for a points total of 251.0. It was the first medal ever by a Japanese woman in the Nordic skiing world championships.
Hendrickson nailed the day's longest jump of 106 meters, and the 18-year-old grabbed gold with a score of 253.7 after her effort of 103 meters on the second run. Austria's Jacqueline Seifriedsberger took the bronze with 237.2.
"I'm happy that I was able to put together two solid jumps. I had my eye on the gold, but I'm glad to have won a medal," said Takanashi, who had a chance to beat Hendrickson had she flown 1.5 meters farther.
"My timing (on the takeoff) was something I'd been working on, and it felt good today. But I'm really disappointed I wasn't able get Telemark landings on either of my jumps. That's what I need to really master from now."
"Sarah was really impressive out there. Both her jumps were excellent," the Hokkaido native said.
Japanese competitors Yuki Ito, Misaki Shigeno and Yurika Hirayama finished in 20th, 22nd and 24th place, respectively.