Johannesburg – Sascoc has mourned the death of national kick-boxer Albert Wessels during a World Association of Kickboxing Organisation (Wako) Senior World Championships event in Antalya, Turkey.
“It is with great sadness and shock that we hear this news,” said SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee President Gideon Sam on Sunday.
“Kick-boxers are known to be extremely fit and robust athletes and this comes as a great shock. We wish his family, friends and his fellow sportsmen and women in the kick-boxing code, strength at this sad time.”
Wessels died on Wednesday after competing in the Light Contact and Kick Light categories.
He collapsed near the end of the third round in the Kick Light category and was rushed to hospital immediately and operated on to relieve bleeding on the brain.
“We also sincerely hope the medical report will enable us to know what exactly happened,” Sam added.
A full investigation conducted by Wako and its officials, as well as South African coaches, found nothing untoward.
President of Martial Arts South Africa (Masa) Louise Viviers said Wessels's death was a unique incident that needed to be investigated further, but believed that Wessels was in good hands during the fight.
“Should this have happened in the full contact ring one can say that the incident was caused due to a number of full contact punches and kicks to the head.
“The fact that it happened on the light contact tatami will remain a mystery. Our two coaches who were coaching Albert are senior instructors and officials in the organisation and would have most certainly stopped the bout should the Wako rules not have been followed.
“The South African team were very well supported by the Turkish Kickboxing Association, the hotel, the South African Embassy in Ankara, the hospital, and members of the South African delegation.” – Sapa