Triathlon: Cardiorespiratory failure caused death of expat triathlete

Stephen Begley and his sister Claire. Mr Begley, who is from Britain died after he encountered difficulty during the swim leg of the Singapore International Triathlon at East Coast Park on Sept 10, 2017.
Stephen Begley and his sister Claire. Mr Begley, who is from Britain died after he encountered difficulty during the swim leg of the Singapore International Triathlon at East Coast Park on Sept 10, 2017.PHOTO: THE BEGLEY FAMILY

Stephen Begley, the 42-year-old triathlete from Britain who died at the Singapore International Triathlon on Sunday, suffered cardiorespiratory failure during the swim leg of the event.

The cause of death was revealed yesterday in a statement released by his employers in Singapore, St James's Place Wealth Management Asia. Begley moved here to work in the financial services field in late 2012 and had been an associate partner with the company since 2015.

He was his three-man team's designated swimmer in the standard distance relay event and had encountered difficulty in the 1.5km open water swim just before 10am.

His team-mates Paul Molloy and Rob White were to take on the 36km cycle leg and 10km run respectively.

The statement read: "Immediate medical assistance and resuscitation was administered at the event before transportation to Singapore General Hospital for further treatment.

"Sadly, Steve could not be revived despite resuscitation efforts.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss and the thoughts of everyone at St James's Place are with Steve's family.

"Steve was a larger-than-life personality whose positive outlook was much admired by all of his colleagues."

Begley, who was 1.96m and weighed about 110kg, had been an active sportsman with no known medical conditions. He was a former professional rugby player, most notably as a part of the Glasgow Hawks side that won the Scottish Cup in 1998.

Born in Chatham, Kent and raised on the Isle of Sheppey, where his parents Jackie and Frank live, Begley was not married and had two siblings, Claire, 48, and Matt, 47.

The Straits Times understands that Begley's brother will arrive in Singapore today.

Online tributes for the Briton continued to pour in from former team-mates and friends, some of described him as a "gentle giant".

Former team-mate Glenn Metcalfe, a New Zealander, told The Scottish Sun: "He was a larger-than-life character who was always fun to be around. He was a mate to everyone and a pleasure to have known.

"He was one of life's fun guys and I will miss the big geezer."

Richard Munday, who also played alongside Begley, tweeted that he was "a tough enforcer, a true (gentleman), and a friend to many. A real rugby man."

Begley's death is the second fatality at the event, after the death in 2009 of Singaporean Calvin Lee, 42.

Lee had similarly run into trouble in the 1.5km relay swim leg then.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2017, with the headline 'Cardiorespiratory failure caused death of expat triathlete'. Print Edition | Subscribe