Host country favorite Ryoyu Kobayashi came in second at a World Cup ski jumping meet Saturday in Sapporo, where his 51-year-old Japanese compatriot Noriaki Kasai finished 30th to earn his first World Cup point in five seasons.

The 27-year-old Kobayashi, who won the overall Four Hills title earlier this year, had jumps of 128.5 and 138.5 meters to score 262.6 points, 0.4 less than Austria's Stefan Kraft.

Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi competes at a World Cup ski jumping meet in Sapporo on Feb. 17, 2024. (Kyodo)

Kraft picked up his ninth win of the season and 39th overall. Germany's Andreas Wellinger rounded out the podium with 256.9 points.

Kasai extended his record for most World Cup appearances to 570 as he competed on the circuit for the first time since February 2020.

"It's big that I was able to earn a point," Kasai said. "For the first time in five seasons -- it's been a long time coming."

Austria's Stefan Kraft (C) celebrates after winning a World Cup ski jumping meet in Sapporo on Feb. 17, 2024, alongside Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi (L) and Germany's Andreas Wellinger, who finished second and third, respectively. (Kyodo)

The eight-time Olympian, also the oldest competitor in the history of World Cup ski jumping, had 169.2 points after soaring 117.0 and 104.0 meters.

Afterward, Kraft admitted to being something of a Kasai fan.

"It was a great competition in Sapporo...a lot of spectators here, because of Nori maybe," Kraft said. "He made really great jumps. He made points at 51 years. That's incredible. We cheered for him and now I'm really happy."

Among other Japanese in the field at Okurayama Hill, Junshiro Kobayashi placed 10th and Ren Nikaido was 24th.

Japan's Noriaki Kasai competes at a World Cup ski jumping meet in Sapporo on Feb. 17, 2024. (Kyodo)

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