'Thorough review' after Chinese teenage badminton player's death

By AFP   July 2, 2024 | 08:30 pm PT
'Thorough review' after Chinese teenage badminton player's death
Players pay tribute to Zhang Zhi Jie at the Asian Junior Badminton Mixed Team Championships in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, July 1, 2024. Photo by AFP
Badminton's governing body on Tuesday announced a "thorough review" following the death of a promising Chinese teenager who collapsed during a match.

Seventeen-year-old Zhang Zhijie was playing at the Asia Junior Championships in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta on Sunday when he suddenly fell to the floor.

Indonesia's badminton association (PBSI) and Badminton Asia said he was promptly rushed to hospital but died that night having suffered a cardiac arrest.

However, there were questions about the medical response at the venue. Footage showed it took 40 seconds from when Zhang collapsed for any kind of help to arrive on the court.

"We are taking all necessary steps to thoroughly review this matter in consultation with Badminton Asia and Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI)," the Badminton World Federation (BWF) governing body said in a statement.

A PBSI spokesman on Monday blamed the hesitant emergency response on the referee and said that as hosts they were only adhering to BWF rules.

"Following the completion of our review, we will determine whether specific aspects of these guidelines need to be changed," the BWF added.

It is also waiting for an official report from Badminton Asia and the local organizing committee "to assess whether the correct medical procedures were followed in providing aid to Zhang when he fell to the court".

Badminton great Lee Chong Wei earlier Tuesday called for changes in scheduling to give players more time to recover.

The retired Lee, a three-time Olympic silver medalist, told The Star newspaper in Malaysia that Zhang's shock death should be a wake-up call for the sport.

He said that medical teams needed to be "more alert" and called for the BWF to "review their match and tournament schedule".

"He appeared tired and it's sad to accept the reality that China's future top player is gone," Lee said.

Chinese state media has also questioned the emergency response.

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