Saturday, 28 July 2012
: Popular Toowoomba jockey Nori Yamada is to pursue a new career after being told by doctors that he should never ride again.
Yamada, who reached the pinnacle of his career in March when he rode Miss Imagica to victory in the Listed Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba, suffered severe back and neck injuries in a fall at Clifford park on June 9.
The 20-year-old, who has been riding for six years including the last three in Toowoomba, suffered L2 and L3 fractures.
The injuries have been compounded by previous serious neck and lower back injuries that Nori suffered in race falls earlier in his career.
He has two screws and a metal plate in his neck, following a cervical fracture sustained in 2009.
Yamada's worst fears have been confirmed by one of Queensland's leading orthopaedic surgeons, who advised him he should never ride again.
He has decided he doesn't want to push his luck and is grateful he hasn't been left in the same position as his former riding colleague Kristy Banks who will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
"I thought I was okay, I got up and walked away but the following day, I became gravely ill and could hardly move," Yamada said of the June 9 fall.
"I don't know how I have been able to walk away from the bad falls that I have had.
"Maybe I will miss it sometimes, but I will try not to because I have made that decision myself.
"I' have got my son Mizuki and my wife Maki who is pregnant with our second child due in January, so now I just want to look after them."
Yamadai is now moving on. He is currently in Japan where he is completing his certificate as a vegetable sommelier from the Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association.
"It's very popular in Japan and they are very famous chefs there, it's not something you see in Australia," Nori said.
"You are an expert on vegetables and make vegetable recipes and offer advice to restaurants about what vegetables work best in different dishes."
Nori plans to bring the kitchen skills back to Australia and will return to Toowoomba to pursue his new culinary career.