Skiing: Watabe 3rd in Nordic combined World Cup season finale

SPORTS

Japan's Akito Watabe placed third Sunday in the last individual Nordic combined World Cup event of the season, taking his overall podium tally to seven.

In the event won by home favorite Eric Frenzel, Watabe started the 10-kilometer cross-country phase in Schonach with a 1 minute, 14 second deficit, picking his way through the field to squeeze into the top three by one second. Francois Braud of France was runner-up.

"Being able to finish third means I'm improving. I pushed myself to go beyond my limits. It was a battle against myself. It was a good race," said Watabe.

Frenzel, who earned his 10th victory of the season, won the overall World Cup title for the fifth straight year with 1,734 points, Johannes Rydzek took second 125 points behind his German countryman.

Watabe was third in the season standings with 1,086 points and his younger brother Yoshito 24th.

"I've regained my baseline skills but I still have a lot of room for improvement," said Watabe, who got off to a slow start to the season after fracturing his left hand in May.

==Kyodo

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