Polytechnic cheerleader dies after training accident

Polytechnic cheerleader dies after training accident

A Ngee Ann Polytechnic student died yesterday (Sep 12), two weeks after he fell during cheerleading practice.

According to the Lianhe Wanbao, 19-year-old Lai Qing Xiang sustained injuries to his back after he slipped while performing a backflip on the evening of Aug 30.

He was rushed to the National University Hospital, where he spent two weeks in a coma.

Wanbao reported that his condition was erratic, but appeared to improve before taking a turn for the worse a few days later.

His elder sister Julin Lai posted on her Facebook page on Sep 1: "At least Qing Xiang is breathing on his own hope he will be stronger and get better fast."

However, the next day she posted that her brother was "not doing so well this morning" and urged friends to pray for him.

On Sep 3, she posted: "Qing Xiang's health so far is stable and there's improvement."

Ms Lai's last post on Sep 11 before he died was: "'Sleeping Beast', please wake up."

His funeral service was held at the Mount Vernon crematorium on Thursday evening.

According to The Straits Times, Lai's father had questioned why the 1.75m tall teenager who weighed 90kg was asked to do a backflip when he was a "tosser". A tosser is one who throws other cheerleaders into the air and catches them.

Always jovial, Lai was nicknamed "happy fruit". He had a keen interest in cheerleading and was described by friends as positive and energetic.

According to Wanbao, Lai was from the Institute of Technical Education before being accepted into Ngee Ann Polytechnic. His friends on Facebook had commented that Lai must have done well academically to be able to enter a polytechnic.

The Chinese daily also reported that Ngee Ann Polytechnic has since suspended all cheerleading activities pending an investigation into the incident. It added that a coach was present during the practice, and Lai was transported by ambulance to the hospital immediately following the accident. The polytechnic is also offering its assistance to the student's family and affected students and personnel.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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