World of Sport

Quick-thinking ref saves players' lives as roof collapses at badminton tournament

World of Sport

Players and spectators at a major badminton tournament made an incredible escape after the ceiling of the host venue collapsed in spectacular and horrifying fashion.

The amazing scene took place at the £30,000 tournament at the Phan Dinh Phung Sports Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.

Play was well under way in the Vietnamese capital city, with two first round singles matches taking place. 

With almost everyone engrossed by the action, few people noticed the huge cracks that started to appear in the roof of the ageing venue - but thankfully, one eagle-eyed tournament referee noticed what was happening, and immediately ordered the courts to be cleared.

The players and officials on court ran for cover - and, just moments later, the roof of the ceiling collapsed, leaving a pile of debris on the court and sending a huge cloud of dust into the air.

The few brave - or perhaps foolhardy - fans who remained in the arena captured the scenes on their smartphones and uploaded the footage on this page to the internet.

Shockingly, local officials appeared to play down the incident, calmly noting that the Phan Dinh Phung Sports Centre was really "too old" to have been used, and that the 30-year-old had already been earmarked for refurbishment.

"It is awaiting major reconstruction, so safety checks may have been a bit loose," said Mai Ba Hung, deputy head of the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in an interview with Reuters.

May have been a bit loose? You think?

The tournament has been moved to the nearby Tan Binh Sports Centre, Hung added, explaining that an investigation would take place.

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A major badminton event in Vietnam narrowly avoided catastrophe.

A major badminton event in Vietnam narrowly avoided catastrophe.

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