Latest – The Matamata-based Japanese jockey Taiki Yanagida has died following a fall last week.
The 28-year-old suffered critical injuries following a fall in the last race at the Cambridge race meeting on Wednesday, 3 August and had been on life support at Waikato Hospital.
His family arrived from Japan last Friday and Taiki’s friend and fellow rider Yuto Kamagai accompanied them to Waikato Hospital.
“Our deepest sympathies are with Taiki’s family – his mother Kayano, sisters Chiaki and Ayano, and his grandmother. We share their grief at the loss of such a talented, friendly, and well-liked young man,” New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing CEO Bruce Sharrock said.
“Taiki was recently able to spend a month back at home with his family following a lengthy period where he could not travel home due to Covid, and we hope they take comfort from the memories created during that time,” he said.
The close-knit nature of the racing industry will mean that Yanagida’s loss is widely felt and the NZTR CEO encouraged industry participants to be mindful of this.
“We will now be assisting Taiki’s family as they make plans to take their son and brother home.”
Yanagida is the first jockey to die in a race fall in New Zealand since Rebecca Black at Gore in December, 2016.
Vermeulen named in Springboks pack
The Springboks have recalled number eight Duane Vermeulen as one of five changes to their starting line-up for the second Rugby Championship test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg this weekend.
Vermeulen had sat out the international season to date after knee surgery, but has been deemed fit to play and comes in for Jasper Wiese at the back of the scrum. The latter moves to the bench.
The Springboks cruised to a 26-10 victory in the first test in Nelspruit last weekend, their biggest win over the All Blacks in 94 years, and have been forced into two of the changes.
Jesse Kriel comes in on the wing for the suspended Kurt-Lee Arendse, while Jaden Hendrikse will start at scrumhalf after Faf de Klerk was concussed in the opening minute of the last match. Hershel Jantjies comes onto the bench as scrumhalf cover.
The two other switches are both in the front row of the scrum as Bongi Mbonambi comes in for Malcolm Marx at hooker and Ox Nche replaces Trevor Nyakane at prop.
British athletics coach banned for life
Toni Minichiello will “never” be allowed to coach again by UK Athletics after being found to have committed “gross breaches of trust” with sexually inappropriate conduct.
The 56-year-old, who had been the subject of multiple complaints from women in athletics, was found to have committed 11 serious charges by an independent case-management group.
Various other charges were not proven.
An independent panel found Minichiello’s actions to “have had severe consequences for the mental health and mental wellbeing of the athletes under his charge.”
The findings relate to anonymous athletes over a 15-year period.
Minichiello guided Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic glory at London 2012. He has also commented on athletics for BBC TV.
Cameron Smith set to jump to LIV
World golf number two and Open Championship winner Cameron Smith is “gone” to the LIV Golf Series at the end of the PGA playoffs, according to fellow Australian Cameron Percy.
Percy said Smith, 28, and another Australian, Marc Leishman, already have signed deals to exit the PGA Tour.
“Unfortunate, yeah, they’re gone,” Percy told RSN radio.
Percy said the humanitarian element of the Saudi-backed circuit weighs on him.
“The more and more you look into it, some people don’t care, some people have got a conscience and do care,” he said.
“It really comes down to, you know, they just executed 80 people this week, just chopped their heads off’. They’re not the nicest people in the world. “Do you just look past that and go, Oh well, I ‘m rich I don’t really care’. It’s a tough one, it really is.”
Percy, 48, finished in the top 10 at the Wyndham Championship last week, just ahead of the start of the FedEx Playoffs this week.
Cricket umpire dies
Former international cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen has died in a car accident in South Africa.
Koertzen, 73, was on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires for eight years and officiated in 331 matches, a record at the time of his retirement in 2010 that has since been surpassed by Pakistan’s Aleem Dar.
“It is a very big loss, foremost for his family and then for South Africa and cricket,” Dar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricInfo.
“I stood in so many games with him. He was not only very good as an umpire but also an excellent colleague, always very cooperative on the field and also always willing to help off the field.
“Because of the way he was, he was also well-respected by players.”
Koertzen died while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape, where he lived with his family.
Koertzen still occasionally umpired in amateur cricket in his hometown of Despatch in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.