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Ammann flies further in Norway

Ammann was flying high in Norway on Sunday


Ski jumper Simon Ammann has taken back the World Cup lead after equalising the record mark of 140m set by Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer one day earlier.

At Sunday's event in Trondheim, Norway, the Swiss jumper beat his rivals with a total of 280.2 points.

Finland's Matti Hautamäki finished second with 278.3 and Schlierenzauer's 274.8 took third place.

On Saturday, Ammann ended fifth, only managing 271.3 points. The 27-year-old Swiss admitted to feeling ill but had obviously recovered sufficiently by Sunday to equalise Schlierenzauer's record on his first jump.

His second attempt was five metres shorter than the first, but stylistically faultless and good enough to secure victory.

"It's great to leave this hill as the record holder," an excited Ammann said. He added that he did not feel any additional pressure before his final jump of the day.

"It was a lot easier than in Kuusamo," referring to last week's competition in Finland which he also won.

"I'm thrilled to do my job well. I was looking forward to competing against Schlierenzauer and Hautamäki. It's motivating to be among the top jumpers," he added.

It is still early in the season, but Ammann is already in top form, winning two of the three events to lead the field with 245 points, 25 ahead of Schlierenzauer.

The next World Cup competition will be held in Italy next weekend at the 2006 Olympic ski jumping facility.

Flying Harry Potter

Sunday's win gives Ammann a total of five World Cup victories in his career on top of the two gold medals he won at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and a World Championships' gold.

Dubbed Harry Potter after his Salt Lake City wins because of his resemblance to the boy wizard, Ammann became an overnight star: the story of a farmer's son raised with no television or radio went down particularly well in the United States.

But after the Salt Lake Games "Simi" landed with a bump and spent four years without direction or success, including his underperformance at the Turin Olympics.

He made a comeback the following winter with two World Cup wins and first place at the World Championships in Sapporo. He finished last season in ninth position overall.

Switzerland's second best ski jumper also performed well in Trondheim on Sunday. Andreas Küttel came sixth after jumps of 133.5 and 132m for 264.1 points.

He finished the weekend in tenth position in the overall standings.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

World Cup standings after three of 28 events:
1. Ammann 245 points
2. Schlierenzauer 220
3. Larinto 145
10. Küttel 83

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Ski Jumping World Cup

The World Cup season started on the last weekend of November in Finland and ends on March 22 in Slovenia.

The World Championships will be held at the end of February in Liberec, Czech Republic.

Engelberg, in canton Obwalden, hosts two contests on the weekend of December 20-21.

The Four Hills Tournament takes place between December 28 and January 6 in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany and Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in Austria.

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