Team Japan won the Nordic Combined team event on Thursday at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Norihito Kobayashi defeated Germany's Tino Edelmann in a sprint to the finish to give Japan its first medal of the championships. Japan finished the 4x5km relay exactly at the same time as Germany, with Norway 3.6 seconds back in third.
It was Japan's first Nordic Combined gold since Kenji Ogiwara won an individual Gundersen in 1997 in Trondheim (NOR).
Japan started with a 24-second deficit and Norway was 42 seconds back at the start, but both Yusuke Minato and Mikko Kokslien caught up with France and Austria to create a four-man group going into the second leg. Germany's Eric Frenzel then caught up with the group as well, while Austria fell out of contention when Wilhelm Denifl couldn't keep up.
Germany's Ronny Ackermann tried to pull away on the third leg, building a 12-second lead on Norway and Japan going into the final switchover but Norway's Magnus Moan and Kobayashi quickly caught up to Edelmann.
Moan is one of the strongest skiers on the circuit, but could not challenge his two rivals in the final sprint.