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China badminton player, 17, dies of cardiac arrest after collapsing on court

JAKARTA: An "outstanding" 17-year-old Chinese badminton player died of cardiac arrest after collapsing on court during a tournament in Indonesia, officials said on Monday (Jul 1).

Zhang Zhijie was suddenly taken ill during a match late Sunday against Japan's Kazuma Kawano at the Asia Junior Championships in Yogyakarta.

The score was 11-11 in the first game when Zhang fell to the floor between points.

The teenager received treatment at the venue and was rushed to hospital by ambulance, but passed away later that night after repeated efforts to resuscitate him failed.

"Medical conclusions ... indicated that the victim experienced sudden cardiac arrest," Broto Happy, spokesman for the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI), told a press conference in Yogyakarta.

Zhang's parents were heading to the city to retrieve his body, he said.

The spokesman defended the actions of medical staff and local organisers after footage showed what appeared to be a hesitant response to the teenager falling face down on the court.

He said that medical teams had to wait for the referee to let them on the court.

"The world of badminton has lost a talented player," Badminton Asia and the PBSI said in a statement.

Zhang started playing badminton in kindergarten and joined China's national youth team last year.

Earlier this year he won the singles title at the Dutch Junior International, a prestigious youth tournament.

China's badminton association said it was "deeply saddened".

"Zhang Zhijie loved badminton and was an outstanding athlete of the national youth badminton team," the CBA said in a statement.

The team tournament held a moment's silence on Monday and the Chinese team wore black armbands as a mark of respect before the competition carried on.