Singapore, Malaysian cyclists hit by food poisoning; Singsoc investigating cause

Cyclist Dinah Chan is one of several from Singapore and Malaysia to have been hit by a suspected case of food poisoning. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
Cyclist Dinah Chan is one of several from Singapore and Malaysia to have been hit by a suspected case of food poisoning. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - The ongoing SEA Games suffered a suspected outbreak of food poisoning on Thursday, when several athletes at the cycling competition at Marina Bay South were struck down by illness.

Among those affected were Singapore's Dinah Chan, who lost her women's individual time-trial crown and had to settle for the bronze. At the 2013 edition in Myanmar, the 29-year-old was forced to pull out of the women's 100km/128km individual road race, also owing to food poisoning.

Singapore's Darren Low, who finished 9th out of 16 cyclists in the men's individual time trial, said: "The effects of the food poisoning came in. I couldn't concentrate. That (performance) was the best that I could do."

Team Singapore's chief medical officer Dr Teoh Chin Sim said: "The cycling team are in a good condition now after a bout of loose stools that affected a few of them in the early hours of June 11.

"They have been advised to keep their bodies hydrated and our sport dietician is helping them in meal planning."

The Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) said in a statement that it has received a report of an incident involving a bout of loose stools that has affected a few athletes early this morning.

It added that it is investigating the matter with the relevant authorities and reinforcing hygiene practice.

The cyclists are staying at the Resorts World Sentosa for the duration of the Games. The hotel also houses the athletes from golf.

Malaysian cyclist Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, who finished 11th in the men's individual time trial, said his performance had been hindered by his food intake.

He said: "Two other riders, including my room-mate, are down too. I think it was the chicken and the curry egg at dinner. I felt sick at around 1am last night."

A check with athletes from golf found no reports of illness.

The women's time trial event was won by the Philippines' Marella Vania Salamat, with Thailand's Chanpeng Nontasin taking the silver. In the men's race, Indonesia's Robin Manullang took gold, Thailand's T. Boonratanathanakorn the silver and Vietnam's Duc Tam Trinh the bronze.

This is the second case of food poisoning to affect a major sports event Singapore is hosting. At the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, 21 members of the YOG organising committee workforce also fell ill.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg

hosr@sph.com.sg

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