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Singaporeans bid farewell to teen who died after goalpost accident

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by April 26, 2017 General

Relatives mourn during the funeral of Muhammad Hambali Sumathi in Eunos on April 25, 2017. — TODAY picRelatives mourn during the funeral of Muhammad Hambali Sumathi in Eunos on April 25, 2017. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, April 26 — More than 200 people, including schoolmates, kindergarten teachers and former primary school friends of Muhammad Hambali Sumathi turned up in Eunos yesterday for his wake held at his relative’s home. 

The 13-year-old Geylang Methodist Secondary School student was killed on Monday after a goalpost fell on him during a physical education lesson, while he was playing football.

Tears fell freely as a crowd gathered at the void deck of Block 410, Eunos Road 5, to accompany Hambali’s body, which was carried from the hearse to his aunt’s home.

As some visitors sobbed, the teen’s mother, Rajimah Sumati, fainted and had to be helped by family members when her son’s body reached the flat at around 2pm.

The 49-year-old housewife was seen crying throughout the proceedings in the afternoon.

Hambali’s father, Sumathi Abdul Hamid, 54, who works in a hospital, appeared calm.

On Monday morning at the school field, Hambali had reached for the crossbar of the goalpost and hung onto it — only for the goalpost to collapse on him.

The Secondary 1 student suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Hambali’s cousin Danish Hakim Yusri, who is also his classmate, said that the students were divided into groups during the lesson.

Then, all of a sudden, he heard the physical education teacher shouting for someone to call an ambulance.

“We rushed over and saw that Hambali was injured. I could see a lot of blood coming out of his mouth and ears.

“The grass patch was also covered with his blood.

“His eyes were closed,” he said.

Danish, as well as other family members, friends and schoolmates remember Hambali as a jovial and kind-hearted boy.

He is the oldest of three children from his parents’ second marriage.

His older half-sister Nur Sarah Aqilah Sumathi, 33, a winner at singing competition Anugerah on Suria channel in 2009, was also present.

She told TODAY later: “It feels so painful right now.”

Suhail Ahmed, 13, who has known Hambali since kindergarten and was a former classmate at Geylang Methodist Primary School, said that Hambali would always motivate his classmates whenever they were under stress because of their studies. “He can really make someone’s day,” the Loyang Secondary School student recalled.

The second-storey apartment had so many visitors yesterday, a long line formed along the staircase leading to the void deck.

Two school buses ferried Hambali’s schoolmates and teachers from Geylang Methodist Secondary School to the wake.

Hambali’s form teacher Siti Radziatun Abdul Samat, 35, said that she was distraught upon learning that he had died due to his injuries. She described him as a “cheerful character” who was “well-liked by his schoolmates”. 

“The huge turnout of people to pay their last respects is a testament to his good nature and how loved he is,” she said.

Family and friends also talked about the teen harbouring hopes of becoming a professional football player, saying that he had the potential to excel in the sport.

Geylang Methodist Secondary School’s football captain Muhd Danial Mohd Azlan called Hambali “fearless” on the field even though he had a small frame, and said that he was willing to “battle it out with the bigger boys” during competitions.

An avid fan of English football club Manchester United, Hambali last year joined a football club outside of school called Youth Guidance Ethos. The team’s manager Jim Leong said that Hambali could switch between the roles of a goalkeeper and striker. 

“His talents were promising,” Leong said, adding that Hambali won the Most Promising Character Award just last month.

The award is given to young football players nominated by their respective team managers and handed out by voluntary welfare organisation Students Care Service, which runs the Ace football programme for youth. 

After the teen was buried at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery at around 5pm, his father, Sumathi, said in Malay: “I can’t express how sad I am. As I took him to his grave, I just said to myself, ‘This would be the last time we see each other’.”

In a statement issued last night on the accident, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that it “consistently prioritises safety” when providing school equipment and conducting physical activities.

“We work very closely with all schools to establish sound safety procedures for school operations. All schools have internal safety processes to ensure the safety of their students. As part of these processes, school staff members conduct regular safety reviews, inspections and safety briefings for staff members and students. Schools will continue to advise students to exercise personal responsibility and care,” its spokesperson said. — TODAY

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