28-Year-Old Japanese Jockey Taiki Yanagida Trampled To Death In New Zealand

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Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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Taiki Yanagida, a 28-year-old Japanese jockey, died Tuesday in New Zealand after reportedly taking a horrific fall from his horse Aug. 3.

Yanagida passed away in Waikato Hospital after suffering major injuries during a race at the Cambridge Jockey Club, according to NZ Herald. His mother and one of his sisters rushed from Japan after learning of his fall and were by his side during his final moments. The young jockey suffered severe brain and spinal cord damage and never regained consciousness after he was placed in an induced coma after being trampled, the outlet noted.

Yanagida was riding a horse named Te Atatu Pash in the last race at Cambridge when the horse was reportedly checked and fell to the ground. His helmet came off as another horse galloped directly onto him, striking him in the back. The young rider was also trampled on by his own horse, according to the NZ Herald.

His injuries were so severe that had he awoken from the coma, he likely would have never walked again, the outlet noted.

The last time a horse racer died during a race in New Zealand was in a 2016 tragedy, which saw a jockey named Rebecca Black fall and lose her life at Gore, the NZ Herald reported. (RELATED: Police On Horseback Trample ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protesters In Canada)

Yanagida, known by his nickname Tiger, had been racing horses since he was 18 years old, according to the outlet.

During an interview in June, Yanagida said his mother was apprehensive about his desire to race horses, and she feared for his safety. “I wanted to try and become a jockey but my mum didn’t agree, she said I must to go to university first, I think she was worried about the gambling,” Yanagida told RaceForm.

“I completed one year at university before I said I was going to Australia to train to be a jockey,” he continued, according to RaceForm. “Now my mother is happy for me, she knows I am doing what I always wanted to, but she still worries about me and is always going to the temple to pray for my luck and safety,” Yanagida said.