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TORINO: Ski jumping: Italy to use nordic combined athletes in jumping

TORINO: Ski jumping: Italy to use nordic combined athletes in jumping{mosimage}TORINO, Italy – Italy will replace its two injured ski jumpers with athletes from its nordic combined team – a move that raises doubt about whether the host nation can make a strong showing in the event.

The Italians were not considered to be medal contenders in ski jumping, but they were hoping to perform well in front of the home crowd at Pragelato.

Instead, the team will take the unusual move of using nordic combined athletes to replace the injured Marco Beltrame and Stefano Chiapolino.

”With a lower number of athletes, we will take part in the same number of events,” Italian delegation head Raffaele Pagnozzi said Wednesday.

Beltrame and Chiapolino were hurt Monday in separate falls while attempting landings at Predazzo in Val di Fiemme.

Giuseppe Michielli is expected to take one of the open spots, while either Alessandro Pittin or Jochen Strobl will likely get the other, said Gaetano Coppi, the head of the Italian winter sports federation.

Michielli, who is equally skilled at both ski jumping and cross-country skiing, is Italy’s top nordic combined athlete. He is ranked 42nd in the World Cup standings.

The two that are eventually picked by the ski jumping coaches will only compete in the team event, Coppi said.

Italy’s top two jumpers, Sebastian Colloredo and Andrea Morassi, are expected to compete in the team event. Alessio Bolognani, the team’s No. 5 jumper, is also available. Four jumpers take part in the team event.

On Monday, Beltrame’s injuries did not appear to be serious at first, but he fainted before dinner and was taken to the hospital, where his spleen was removed.

Beltrame could be in the hospital for another two or three days, Coppi said. The injury was not thought to be career-threatening. Chiapolino broke his nose and needed stitches after getting cuts on his face.

The nordic combined team has five members, but Daniele Munari and Davide Bresadola were not expected to be named as replacements for Beltrame and Chiapolino.

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