SATURDAY COURIER MAIL Sibling BMX riders Kai and Saya Sakakibara on the Gold Coast. The pair are on track for the Tokyo Olympics. Pics Adam Head
SATURDAY COURIER MAIL Sibling BMX riders Kai and Saya Sakakibara on the Gold Coast. The pair are on track for the Tokyo Olympics. Pics Adam Head

Olympic hopeful still in hospital after horrifying crash

Aussie Tokyo Olympics hopeful Kai Sakakibara remains in a Canberra hospital after suffering head injuries in a race crash.

 

The 23-year-old was airlifted from the Bathurst Supercross World Cup round on Saturday in a critical but stable condition.

 

Sakakibara fell on the second corner during his opening-round heat and was treated on site by paramedics and a doctor before being taken to hospital. The event was called off for the day after the men's first round heats because of wind and rain.

 

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Kai Sakakibara and his sister Saya are both pushing for Aussie selection.
Kai Sakakibara and his sister Saya are both pushing for Aussie selection.

Sakakibara and his younger sister Saya are aiming to make their Olympic debuts in Japan, where he spent part of his childhood after being born on the Gold Coast.

 

He started racing BMX at the age of four before his family moved to Tokyo in 2000.

 

Sakakibara continued to show promise in the sport, claiming the Japanese national championships in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and finishing sixth in the world championships.

 

The family returned to Australia 12 years ago where he joined the Southlake Illawarra BMX Club, the base for a string of national and state titles.

 

Sakakibara had his best season in 2017, where he made his first and second World Cup finals before finishing the year ranked ninth in the world.

 

He also raced at last year's world championships, reaching the semi-finals.

 

No further update on his condition was available on Sunday.


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