Japanese-Australian BMX rider, Kai Sakakibara has been placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a severe head injury during a competition, local media reported Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Olympic hopeful was airlifted to Canberra Hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma after the crash at a World Cup event.

A statement released by the family said his head injury will need time to settle before doctors are able to have a more accurate understanding of his condition.

"An operation on Sunday morning relieved some pressure on his brain and he has been placed in a medically induced coma to help his body relax," the statement read.

(Kai Sakakibara)[Photo courtesy of Craig Dutton]

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"Kai's condition is described as critical but stable, he is in good hands and under 24-hour monitoring. We are expecting he will remain in a medical coma for the next two weeks or so."

Sakakibara, along with his younger sister Saya, 20, both had their sights on Olympic debuts at the Tokyo 2020 games in BMX.

The siblings were born on Australia's Gold Coast but lived in Fuchu in western Tokyo from 2001 to 2007 with their Japanese mother and English father.

In a previous interview with Kyodo News, Kai said while he has lived most of his life in Australia, and represents Australia as an athlete, he was especially excited by the prospect of competing at the Tokyo Olympics as he still feels very Japanese, culturally.

"Japan, and Tokyo specifically, is a big part of who I am, so for the Olympics to happen there I feel I have to be part of it," he said.