February 17 - Turkish athlete Seyithan Akbalik died after suffering a heart attack during an international tournament in Luxor yesterday.
The 21-year-old, European Junior champion in 2009, collapsed during a match against a Slovenian player in the men's under 63 kilogram category and was immediately rushed to the Luxor International Hospital, where he later passed away.
Akbalik was representing his Club from Izmir, Ulastirma Spor Kulubu, in the Luxor Open and was returning to competition after having been out for over two years due to the detection of a heart problem.
Upon hearing the news, the World Taekwondo Federation released a statement.
"The World Taekwondo Federation is deeply saddened to announce that a Turkish athlete, Mr. Akbalik Seyithan, passed away on February 16, while competing in the first Luxor Taekwondo Open Championships," it said.
"Akbalik collapsed during the third-round of a preliminary match, and early indications are that the collapse was caused by cardiac arrest.
"According to competition officials, Akbalik received immediate care from onsite medical staff, and was promptly transported by ambulance to Luxor International Hospital.
"Tragically, he did not respond to efforts to resuscitate him.
"The WTF would like to call on all members of the Taekwondo Family to offer their condolences and support to the family and friends of Akbalik.
"He was a promising young athlete that practiced the sport in the true spirit of fair play and sportsmanship."
An air ambulance has been sent to Egypt to return Akbalik's body back home to Turkey.
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