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Finland's Nieminen first man beyond 200 meters

PLANICA, Slovenia, March 17 -- Toni Nieminen of Finland became the first man to fly beyond 200 meters on skis Thursday, recording a jump of 203 meters during unofficial training for this weekend's Skiflying World Championships.

Nieminen, 18, captured two gold medals at the 1992 Albertville Olympics but has missed major events in 1993 and 1994.

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Earlier, Austria's Martin Hoellwarth sailed 196 meters, two further than the longest previous jump of 194 set by Poland's Piotr Fijas on the same hill in 1987.

International Ski Federation (FIS) officials gave their go-ahead to hold the event after threatening to cancel the competition because last summer's re-shaping of the jump hill by local organizers had violated FIS regulations.

Several changes were made to the hill in an effort to allow the first ever 200-meter flight.

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