Ski Jumping - Loitzl man to beat at World Championships

Austrian ski jumper Wolfgang Loitzl could return to the top step of the World Championships podium for the first time in four years after qualifying in first for Thursday's men's large hill final.

Ski Jumping - Loitzl man to beat at World Championships

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Ski jumper Wolfgang Loitzl (AFP)

The 33-year-old has already strut his stuff in Val di Fiemme, Italy, but had to settle for eighth in the normal hill competition – which was won by Norwegian Anders Bardal.

But Loitzl blew that out of the water as he scored 135.9 points to qualify in first place on the large hill.

That means that Loitzl will be the man to beat in the competition proper as he bids to win his first world title since claiming normal hill gold in Liberec in 2009.

It looks to be a battle between Austria and Germany for the medals as compatriot Thomas Morgenstern heads into the final in third, while German duo Michael Neumayer and Andreas Wank finished qualification in second and fourth respectively.

Norway's best hopes of making it two men's ski-jumping gold medals from two events following on from Bardal's success looks to lie with Andreas St Jernen as he finished qualification fifth.

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