Kolkata: An 18-year-old shuttler collapsed and died while practising at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex here, officials said on Sunday.

The body of Niharendu Mallick has been sent to hospital for autopsy, his coach M.M. Samantray said.

While practising with three others, Niharendu collapsed on Saturday and was rushed to a private hospital nearby. He was declared dead on arrival. The death was said to be due to cardiac arrest and brain hemorrhage.

It was learnt that Niharendu, who comes from an humble background, was training on empty stomach. He was a resident of Barrackpore.

"It is very sad news for all of us at SAI," SAI regional director Manmeet Singh Goindi told IANS.

Niharendu was part of SAI's pay and play scheme and was trying hard to break into the regular team.

"His father had just retired from Railways and he was the eldest son in the family. I really can't express in words how sad I am," Goindi added.

His father Nityananda Mallick said SAI was not to blame for the incident.

"I will write a no-objection certificate. We have no demand or complaint against SAI," Mallick said.

"He was doing absolutely fine. My younger son also plays badminton. Like every other day, he had come after having sattu (a healthy drink made of flour)," Mallick said.

Goindi alleged that he got no help from the local administration here and had to take the help of CRPF to secure the campus ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

SAI has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

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