Chinese Badminton Player Zhang Zhijie Dead At 17 After Collapsing On Court During Match

Players and officials observing a moment of silence on July 1, 2024. PHOTO: PBSI VIA AP

A 17-year-old badminton player has died after collapsing during a juniors tournament in Indonesia.

China’s Zhang Zhijie suffered sudden seizures while playing opponent Kazuma Kawano of Japan on June 30, according to a joint statement from Badminton Asia and the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI). The organizations noted that he received medical treatment on the court before being taken away in an ambulance.

The Associated Press reports that he was transported to two facilities and passed away at Dr. Sardjito General Hospital in Yogyakarta. A PBSI spokesperson told reporters at a press conference that both hospitals had determined Zhijie “experienced sudden cardiac arrest,” per the AP.

Badminton Asia and the PBSI shared condolences to Zhang’s loved ones, adding that they were “immensely saddened” over the tragedy and that “the world of badminton has lost a talented player.”

Video of the match circulating on social media sparked backlash in the aftermath, with many criticizing what they thought looked like a delayed response tending to Zhang. Footage appears to show about 40 seconds between the teen’s collapse and a medical professional appearing on the court.

The Badminton World Federation said it was taking “all necessary steps to thoroughly review this matter” and awaiting an official report to “assess whether the correct medical procedures were followed in providing aid to Zhang when he fell to the court.”

Players in Monday’s quarterfinal match observed a full minute of silence in Zhang’s honor.

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