An 18-year-old badminton player died inside the Sports Authority of India (SAI) stadium complex in Kolkata, on Sunday. He was practicing inside the sporting arena when he suddenly went down on the floor and collapsed.

Explaining the unfolding of events, BAI president Himanta Biswa told NewsX, “Badminton player Niharendu Mallick died in SAI center at the time of training yesterday. He was doing shadow practice when he suddenly sat on the floor and fell unconscious.” She added that Mallick was empty stomach at the time of training.

The body of Niharendu Mallick has been sent to a hospital for autopsy, his coach MM Samantray said. While practicing with three others, Niharendu collapsed on Saturday and was rushed to a private hospital nearby. He was declared dead on arrival. The death was said to be due to cardiac arrest and brain hemorrhage.

It was learnt that Niharendu, who comes from a humble background, was training empty stomach. He was a resident of Barrackpore.


“It is very sad news for all of us at SAI,” SAI regional director Manmeet Singh Goindi told a news agency.

Niharendu was part of SAI’s pay and play scheme and was trying hard to break into the regular team.

“His father had just retired from Railways and he was the eldest son in the family. I really can’t express in words how sad I am,” Goindi added.

His father Nityananda Mallick said SAI was not to blame for the incident. “I will write a no-objection certificate. We have no demand or complaint against SAI,” Mallick said. “He was doing absolutely fine. My younger son also plays badminton. Like every other day, he had come after having sattu (a healthy drink made of flour),” Mallick said.

Goindi alleged that he got no help from the local administration here and had to take the help of CRPF to secure the campus ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

SAI has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

This incident of an athlete passing away during training is second such incident in few months, earlier in a similar kind of tragic incident which depicted the sad state of sports infrastructure in the country, a national level wrestler Vishal Kumar Verma died of electrocution in Jaipal Singh Stadium, Ranchi.

According to local police, the athlete was pumping out water from a hand pump inside the stadium when the incident took place. The wrestler was rushed to the hospital after falling unconscious at the site but was declared dead on arrival.

Short circuit due to lose wiring is reported to be the reason behind the demise of the wrestler. Police In charge Shyamanand Mandal was quoted by TOI saying “Faulty wiring seems to be main cause of the incident”.

(With inputs from agencies)