One player down
National sepak takraw player seriously injured in motorcycle accident ahead of SEA Games matches
He was supposed to wear the national colours today and represent Singapore in sepak takraw at the SEA Games.
But a motorcycle accident yesterday brought those plans to an abrupt end.
And it got even worse for national sepak takraw player Muhammad Azreen Sairudin when his younger brother, who was riding pillion, died later in hospital.
The 25-year-old was travelling on the Seletar Expressway in the direction of the Central Expressway in the early hours of Sunday morning.
While it is unclear how the accident happened, The New Paper understands that Azreen was riding the motorcycle while his younger brother, aged 21, was riding pillion.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call at 2.55am on Sunday about the accident and that two men were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
One of them had a fracture to his left arm while the other suffered a chest injury.
Police said the younger man later died from his injuries.
According to Mr Abdul Halim Kader, secretary-general of the Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation (Perses), Azreen was travelling back to the Grand Copthorne Hotel where the Singapore team was staying when the accident happened.
While it is understood that he had left the hotel without the knowledge of team officials, Mr Halim said he found out from Azreen's father that the national player had returned to his home in Woodlands to settle a "family issue".
Mr Halim and other senior official from Perses, including team manager Mohammad Nasri Haron and council member Rohaizan Sarip, visited the family at the hospital yesterday afternoon.
He said Azreen was still in the operating theatre when they visited.
The athlete came out of the operating theatre at 6pm and was wheeled into the intensive care unit.
"The family is devastated right now," said Mr Halim.
"We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family."
He described Azreen as a critical player for the national team, which is due to compete today, against Indonesia at 11am and Thailand at 5pm.
Azreen was supposed to feature in both matches.
Although the team is affected by the turn of events, Mr Halim said they are focused on their coming games.
In a statement to TNP, Singapore's chefs de mission Tan Eng Liang and Nicholas Fang called the accident a "very unfortunate" one.
They added that the priority now is to focus on Azreen's immediate needs and to ensure the team's well-being is looked after.
According to a Singapore National Olympic Council spokesman, psychologists from the Singapore Sports Institute are available for the sepak takraw team members if they require help.
Police investigations into the accidents are ongoing.