Ski jumping isn’t only about a few countries with successful athletes. There are also ski jumpers from countries which don’t play such an important role in the jumping circus. They make the rivalry more colourful and when they achieve something, then it brings smile to all the ski jumping fans’ face. Who from the “outsiders” will be shining bright this season?
Lately, countries like Sweden Slovakia and Belarus have disappeared from the ski jumping map. Swedish lost their interest in ski jumping after the World Championship in Falun. Slovakia and Belarus lost the battle for the sport due to lack of money and interest. The gap after those countries starts to be filled. Turkey, Romania and Georgia has begun to fight at the hills. Let’s check if there’s a chance that they will make the World Cup more international.
In the last years, the most recognizable “lonely rider” is Vincent Descombes Sevoie. A few years ago we wouldn’t have said that France is an exotic country but after the retirement of Chedal and Lazzaroni, the situation has changed. Due to the illness of Ronan Lamy Chappuis, French can only count on Savoie. The previous season was the very best one for the 33-year-old French who finished 16th in the Overall World Cup. At Summer Grand Prix finals in Klingenthal he finished 14th so we can predict that this winter will be similar for him to the last one. France can also hope that Paul Brasme and Jonathan Learoyd will reach that shape which will let them to have their World Cup debut.
One of the sensations of the summer season was Estonia’s Artti Aigro. After that Kaarel Nurmsalu has ended his career, it seemed that noone will be able to replace him in the WC. Luckily, the 18-year-old Aigro reminded the ski jumping fans about his talent. He scored his first SGP points in Chaikovsky where he finished on the 29th place . His performance in the Continental Cup was also decent. It’s almost sure that we’ll see him at the Olympics in PyeongChang. Don’t forget to follow his achievements this winter. It’s definitely worth it.
Another athlete who is worth the attention is Sergey Tkachenko. He ended 18th in the SGP in Hakuba and it looks like he’s one of the most talented athletes from Kazakhstan after the successes of Radik Zhaparov. It’s very possible that we’ll see two Kazakhs in the WC. Tkachenko should be supported by his older teammate – Marat Zhaparov. Let’s see if they will get some World Cup points this year.
The Winter Olympic Games will take place in Korea. However, it is quite sure that hosts are not going to fight for the medals. The shape of the Koreans is getting unfortunately worse and worse. Their athletes aren’t young and promising anymore. They can only count on Seou Choi who is the only one capable of performing a bit better jumps.
Vladimir Zografski hopes that his good shape will be back. A few years ago Zografski was one of the athletes who regularly scored WC points. After that Joachim Winterlich stopped working with him, everything began to go wrong. Vladimir’s father wasn’t the best coach for him and since 2013/2014 he has a lot of problems getting into the TOP50. It looks like Alexander Poitner couldn’t help him either. Right now, his new coach is Matjaz Zupan, however it’s hard to expect miracles from their duo.
Pekka Niemelae is doing a great job in Turkey. His athletes have done big progress and it’s very possible that this winter, for the first time in history, we’ll see Turkey competing in a team competition. It also seems that Faith Arda Ipcioglu has the highest chance to achieve a TOP50 World Cup result.
Romanians aren’t as promising as they used to be but one of them should compete at the Olympics. Two Ukrainians – Vitaliy Kalinitschenko and Stepan Pasichnyk- will also fight for getting a place on the Olympic team.
The Olympic season means that the “outsiders” have a bit more important role than otherwise. It’s hard to expect miracles, but we should see some happy reactions from Vincent Descombes Savoie. In the future, athletes like Aigro, Tkachenko or Ipcioglu can be the highest hopes of the “outsiders”. We should cheer for them because their good results will, for sure, have a good influence on the development of ski jumping.