Australian cyclist Kai Sakakibara was airlifted to hospital in a “critical but stable condition” following a crash at the International Cycling Union (UCI) BMX Supercross World Cup in Bathurst.
The 23-year-old suffered a head injury in the crash at the Bathurst BMX Club in New South Wales.
“On Saturday morning a 23-year-old male Australian rider was injured after a crash at the third round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup at Bathurst BMX Club in New South Wales,” a BMX Australia (BMXA) statement read.
“The rider, Kai Sakakibara, fell on the second corner of the track in the day’s opening round and was assessed and treated onsite for head injuries by paramedics and a doctor from 1300MEDICS, before he was taken to Canberra Hospital by a NSW Ambulance helicopter in a critical but stable condition.
“BMXA will provide support to Kai and his family and request privacy at this time.
“No further public comment will be made until further notice.”
Sakakibara is a multiple Oceania BMX Championships gold medallist and has been eyeing a debut Olympic Games appearance at Tokyo 2020.
Sakakibara’s younger sister Saya is also an elite BMX rider, with the pair both crowned Oceania champions last year.
The thoughts and prayers of the BMXA family are with Kai Sakakibara and his family after his accident in Bathurst today.— BMX Australia (@BMXAustralia) February 8, 2020
For BMXA's statement, click below. https://t.co/lkGArIeMZD pic.twitter.com/WlaCe2wnim
The accident marred the opening day of competition at the World Cup event, which had been impacted by rain and strong winds.
Organisers were forced to adapt the format of the competitions, with the winners of the heats guaranteed a top 18 finish.
The riders were then ranked based on their times in their respective heats.
Rio 2016 Olympic champion Connor Fields won the competition, with the American winning his heat in a time of 34.222 seconds.
Britain’s Kye Whyte finished as the runner-up by topping his heat in 34.321 seconds, while the United States’ Corben Sharrah was third in 34.376.
Weather conditions ultimately forced organisers to cancel the women’s competition.
No decision has yet been made over whether the second day of competition will be held tomorrow.