Austrian duo hit the heights in thrilling Zao ski jumping duel
Austria reigned supreme at the women's ski jumping World Cup event in Zao as Eva Pinkelnig and Chiara Hoelzl took first and second place.
Pinkelnig's triumph marked her second individual victory in three days on the Japanese slopes, extending her hegemony following her HS102 win on Friday while Hoelzl improved on her third-place finish secured at the beginning of the weekend.
Overall standings leader Maren Lundby clinched the final spot on the podium but saw her lead at the top of the World Cup table cut to just a solitary point, with Pinkelnig now second on 509 points and compatriot Hoelzl closely behind on 470.
The 31-year-old Pinkelnig was in unerring form as she soared to a first jump points tally of 114.6 after a 99m leap, scoring 111.9 in her second following a 95m effort to seize the crown with a haul of 226.5.
She was pushed all the way by the precocious Hoelzl, however, who finished just 1.8 points behind to make for a thrilling contest in the Japanese mountains.
Home favourite Sara Takanashi was unable to send the crowd into raptures as she went home with fourth – where she also sits in the overall standings – while Katharina Althaus came fifth to move up to sixth in the World Cup table.
The stage is set for an exhilarating climax to the World Cup season as Lundby and Pinkelnig duke it out at the summit of the standings, with the competition now heading to Rasnov, in Romania, next weekend.