Kenneth Gangnes is the leader at the half-way point of the Ski Flying World Championships ©Getty Images

Slovenia's defending champion Peter Prevc set a hill record on the opening day of the Ski Flying World Championships at Bad Mitterndorf in Austria but he could only place second overall ahead of the individual action concluding tomorrow.

The 23-year-old, who is fresh from winning the prestigious Four Hills ski jumping tournament this year, leapt 243.0 metres in his first attempt for 220 points, but he could only follow that up with a jump of 213.5m for a points tally of 198.1.

That meant that his overall score of 418.1 was second to Norway's 26-year-old Kenneth Gangnes, who registered efforts of 236.0m and 216.0m for a combined points tally of 419.4.

Home hopeful Stefan Kraft is third thanks to jumps of 226.5m and 220.0 which gave him 415.6 points.

Prevc has never won the World Championships, which have been held every two years since 1973.

Peter Prevc is second overall despite breaking the hill record
Peter Prevc is second overall despite breaking the hill record ©Getty Images

Ski flying sees the world's best ski jumpers utilise a special ramp which allows them to achieve even greater heights and distances.

The World Championships, which are organised by the International Ski Federation, will finish with another two jumps tomorrow before a team competition on Sunday (January 17).

This year's competition has been overshadowed by an injury to Austria's Lukas Mueller, who fell during practice.

The 23-year-old injured his spine and is currently unable to move his legs, but a final prognosis is as yet unavailable.