Interview: Stoch clear favorite to take gold in Beijing, says Polish ski jumping legend Fortuna

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WARSAW, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- "Kamil Stoch is a strong favorite to stand on the highest podium in the Olympic competition in Beijing," Polish ski jumping icon Wojciech Fortuna told Xinhua.

After a massive victory in Innsbruck, Austria, on Sunday, Stoch is incredibly close to securing the first place in the general classification of the prestigious Four Hills Tournament. The Olympic medalist from Sochi and PyeongChang showed that he is in his best shape in the first competitions of the new year.

Stoch dreams about winning the Four Hills Tournament for the third time in his career as it's considered one of the most important competitions of the ski jumping season. The tournament started in 1953. Every year the athletes compete in Germany (Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkichen) and Austria (Innsbruck, Bischofschofen).

Before the Wednesday competition in Bischofshofen, Stoch had an advantage of 15.2 points over his compatriot, Dawid Kubacki. However, his main goal is to win gold at the Olympic Games. Former ski jumper Fortuna hopes that the Pole will continue the momentum.

"It's still a long way to Beijing 2022, but I deeply believe Stoch will keep the form. I'm sure he will be a strong favorite to take gold in China. Undoubtedly he is the best ski jumper in the Polish history of the discipline. He won so much that there is nothing to prove for him," claimed Fortuna, who took the gold medal in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo.

"During the Olympic Games in Beijing, we are able to win medals not only in the individual events but also in the team competition. Piotr Zyla and Dawid Kubacki are also of high level, and they will take the highest places this season. That's why I think we will also be favorite in the Olympics team competition," said the 68-year-old in an interview with Xinhua.

"I've heard the German coach Stefan Horngacher said that the Four Hills Tournament is more important for his ski jumpers than the Olympic Games. They really wanted to win the general classification, but they are behind Stoch for now. I feel satisfied because, in the past, a lot of people criticized Stoch and wrote that he wouldn't return to the top. I believed in his quality, and I'm happy he is on the peak again," said Fortuna.

"It's over a year to the Olympic Games, so we have to focus on the coming competitions. Stoch always takes it step by step, and it's a good strategy. I hope he will continue his career after Beijing as the Polish team is much stronger with him. When he retires, we will wait a long time for a jumper who will be able to win as many prizes as Stoch," said Fortuna. Enditem

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