• Kyodo

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Japan’s Rim Nakamura, a gold medal hopeful in the men’s BMX freestyle park at the postponed Tokyo Olympics, broke a bone in his left heel in September and underwent surgery to fix it, sources close to the matter said Monday.

The 18-year-old is expected to get back on the bike in stages after the turn of the year, depending on how he progresses with his rehabilitation, the sources said.

“While filming for my edit, I broke my heel. I will be back stronger,” the Kyoto native wrote in English on his Instagram account along with a picture of himself on crutches with his left foot bandaged in a brace.

In June, the Japan Cycling Federation named Nakamura to compete at the Tokyo Games in a newly-added, trick-focused discipline in which riders are scored by judges.

Nakamura claimed his first-ever UCI World Cup win in Chengdu, China last November, and finished the season at the top of the overall classification.

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