Japan's Ryota Yamamoto took second for a career-best finish in the Nordic combined World Cup season opener in Finland on Friday, coming behind first-time winner Julian Schmid of Germany.

Yamamoto led the ski jumping round after leaping for 143.5 meters and gained an eight-second advantage for the 5-kilometer cross-country leg, in which Schmid moved from second place to cross 5.9 seconds ahead.

Jens Luraas Oftebro of Norway came third, 11 seconds behind Schmid.

Germany's Julian Schmid (C) poses for a photo after winning the season-opening Nordic combined World Cup event in Ruka, Finland, on Nov. 25, 2022, alongside Japan's Ryota Yamamoto (L) and Norway's Jens Luraas Oftebro, who were second and third, respectively. (Nordic Focus/Kyodo)

"I got quite tired toward the end but it wasn't a bad run," said Yamamoto, Japan's anchor when it won the men's team bronze at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

The cross-country leg is not the 25-year-old's strength but he clung on to the runner-up spot as it was half the usual distance of 10 km.

"I think I made a good start (to the season). Hopefully I can keep moving in the right direction," he said.

Akito Watabe, who has medaled in the last three Winter Olympics, settled for 22nd after finishing 19th in the ski jumping portion.

His younger brother Yoshito finished 18th.

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