Man who died in KJE freak accident was veteran rugby coach

Man who died in KJE freak accident was veteran rugby coach

The sudden death of Singapore rugby veteran Slemat Rakisan in a freak accident along the Kranji Expressway yesterday has shocked those in the sports fraternity.

The 57-year-old father of three was killed when a runaway tyre from a trailer truck struck him on his head, causing him to fall off from his motorbike.

Tributes and condolences have appeared on social media after news of the rugby coach's death spread.

Mr Suresh Nair, a former sports journalist with The New Paper said on Facebook: "I'm just lost for words...What a very sad day for Singapore sports. He was a rare breed of Malay sportsmen from Saint Andrew's School, who went on to great heights as an international oval-ball stalwart."

Mr Nair said Mr Rakisan was respected as an international rugby role-model and excelled as a player, coach, referee, referee instructor and leading rugby administrator in Singapore and on the international scene.

Mr Rakisan was the past president of the Singapore Society of Rugby Union Referees (SSRUR) and was one of two Singaporeans who served as Citing Commissioner (CC) with the Asian Rugby Union (ARU), said Mr Nair. Mr Rakisan also served as Vice President of the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU).

Mr Rakisan is believed to have skidded after he was hit by a tyre that fell off a trailer truck from the opposite side of the highway, according to a dashcam video of the accident that has been circulating on social media.

Penning his tribute on Facebook, former Singapore Rugby Union President, Dr Chan Peng Mun, said: "A tragic and premature passing of a gentle rugby star. In the mid 90's when rugby awoke from its slumber, he had put his shoulder to the wheel for rugby to gain momentum. Heaven welcomes a very able referee and rugby administrator."

Read also: Motorcyclist dies after runaway tyre hits him

Expressing his condolences, Singapore National Olympic Council's Vice president and current president of the SRU Low Teo Ping, said: "His love for rugby went beyond playing the sport. He went on to administer, referee, coach and promote. Slemat will be missed."

Mr Ridzal Saat, the Rugby Services manager at World Rugby, the sport's global governing body, praised Slemat as an "extraordinary role model" not just for rugby but for football too.

He said: "He was very special in many ways. Whatever Slemat touched, just turned wonders. He was outstanding as a player, referee, referee instructor, SRU senior official and was faithful in his sports-community work at Yuhua Community Club at football and he even actively served at Jamiyah Singapore, too, to help the Muslim community."

Pre-funeral prayers will be conducted at Masjid Almukminin in Jurong East this afternoon.

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