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Germany's Andreas Wellinger soars to surprise win in qualifying at Bischofshofen

The fourth and final Four Hills Tournament qualifying event arrived at Bischofshofen on Thursday. There was a surprise victory for 21-year-old Andreas Wellinger on a good night for Germany's jumpers.

Germany's Andreas Wellinger produced a Fourth Hills Tournament record leap of 144.5 meters to claim victory in qualifying for the fourth and final event at Bischofshofen on Thursday.

The 21-year-old, who claimed the 2.000-euro ($2,115) prize for being the winner in qualifying, broke the set by Japanese jumper Daiki Ito in 2005 by 1.5 meters.

"Cool! That is the first ski-jumping record of my career," a delirious Wellinger told German public broadcaster ZDF. "It was an awesome feeling, they were three great jumps and the record crowns it all off!" 

Austria's Manuel Fettner finished second while Germany's Stephan Leyhe came in third after a jump of 142 meters on his 25th birthday. Karl Geiger finished seventh after a jump of 135 meters, completing a good night's work for the German team.

Markus Eisenbichler, who had been Germany's biggest hope early in the tournament, declined to take part in qualifying, as did Kamil Stoch of Poland, who is second in the overall standings. The standings' leader, Daniel Andre Tande of Norway, qualified in 39th place. 

The final event of this season's Four Hills Tournament is to take place on Friday. 

mds/pfd (SID, dpa)