A South African bodybuilding champion has died from horrific injuries after an attempted backflip during a competition went badly wrong.
Sifiso Lungelo Thabete broke his neck after landing on his head.
Worried officials raced toward the former junior world champion when he remained motionless on the mat on Saturday.
In a video posted online, the South African bodybuilder is seen entering a gymnasium and whipping up the watching crowd by flexing his muscles. The 23-year-old competitor, pictured, then runs on to a gym mat and jumps in the air to attempt the back flip.
However, his body failed to gain enough momentum to rotate and Mr Thabethe landed on the back of his head. His body then rolled over and he laid motionless on the mat before several people rushed to help at the event last Saturday.
According to Body Building South Africa, ‘Sifiso had a signature backflip’ he liked to perform on stage.
The organisation’s executive president Wayne Price said: ‘We suspect, because he was wearing socks this time, that he slipped or didn’t get enough momentum and landed horribly on his head.’
South African bodybuilding magazine Muscle Evolution wrote of the champion: ‘The bodybuilding community was shocked and saddened by the tragic news of the death of Sifiso Lungelo Thabete, a bodybuilder from Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, at the weekend.’
It reports that he was tipped for a bright future, having been a former IFBB Junior World Champion in the up to 75kg category.
He had ‘impressed the crowd and the judges with unbelievable muscle size and maturity beyond his age’ in his most recent competition, it reported.