Singapore

Sec 1 boy dies after goalpost falls on him

Freak accident happened after he tried to do a pull-up on the crossbar

The death of a Secondary 1 student in a freak accident yesterday has brought into focus the issue of safety on school fields.

Muhammad Hambali Sumathi, 13, died after a goalpost fell on him during a physical education lesson at Geylang Methodist Secondary School.

The New Paper understands that the boy had grabbed the crossbar to do a pull-up, and the structure fell and hit his head.

Hambali was unconscious when he was taken in an ambulance to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where he later died.

The students were playing five-a-side football on half of the school field when the accident happened at around 9.15am, The Straits Times reported.

Quoting his classmates, ST said that four of them rushed to lift the heavy goalpost off Hambali, who soon started bleeding.

School principal Wee Tat Chuen said Hambali was an "active and friendly boy who loved soccer".

"We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. The school is in touch with the student's family, and is also providing the necessary support to students and staff affected," he added.

The school field was closed for police investigations.

FCBEscola Soccer School Singapore managing director Steven Chua said Hambali could have been imitating a goalkeeper he had seen on television.

The football coach of 15 years told TNP: "During PE lessons, there are many students on the field and it's not easy for the teacher to supervise all of them."Mr Khairul Asyraf, a coach of 13 years from 2Touch Soccer School, told TNP that based on photographs from the scene, the goalpost was probably foldable.

He said: "If the legs are not opened fully or secured properly, such goalposts could be unstable."

It is not known what type of goalposts the students were using, but they were unlikely to be full-sized since they were playing on half the field.

The school did not reply to TNP's queries about the goalposts.

SISTER DEVASTATED

Mr Luke Diaz, a manager and football coach for about 10 years for various academies, said goalposts are usually made of aluminium, steel or plastic.

"Plastic is the safest material but it's not very sturdy as it's not heavy. Aluminium would be more sturdy, but if kids hang from the crossbar, it could become unstable," he said.

Hambali's sister, local singer Sarah Aqilah, 33, told TNP that she was "devastated".

"It's very rough for us because it's so sudden, and he was so young.

"He was very close to me though we didn't live together. Twice a month, he would come over to swim and sleep over."

Madam Sarah said she last saw him last month when she took him to Universal Studios Singapore.

"He always wanted to go there so I got him a season pass that lasts for six months, but he managed to go only twice. He's a very good boy, he never demanded anything."

Hambali's brother, Mohammed Rizwan, 19, who is doing his national service, told TNP at their one-room flat in Aljunied that Hambali, the fifth of seven siblings, was very active.

He said: "My brother liked playing soccer and riding bicycles with his friends. He was always outside."

In a similar incident last July, a 14-year-old boy in Kelantan, Malaysia, died after being hit on the head by a goalpost.

He was about to score a goal when he slipped near the goalpost and the structure fell on him.

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