The sports hall at Pasir Ris Sports Centre is often filled with intense action but a week in March saw more drama than anticipated when two men collapsed while playing badminton.
The first incident happened on March 17 as four friends were playing badminton on the second level of the sports centre.
At about 3pm, one of them – Mr Bernard Yong – collapsed suddenly.
The three others – Mr Quek Wee Kwang, Mr Ang Tuan Hoe and Mr Tan Cheng Chuah – were the first to respond. All four men are 69 years old and retired.
Mr Quek Wee Kwang performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Mr Yong, who was unresponsive and had stopped breathing.
He said his son, Sergeant Willie Quek, a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedic had taught him how to perform CPR.
Lifeguards Mohamed Basir Talib, 44, and Mr Fred Leong, 58, were at the swimming pool when someone alerted them through the walkie-talkie of a code red emergency.
Mr Chan Siew Chong, a fitness instructor who works at the sports centre gym, took an automated external defibrillator (AED) and rushed to the sports hall together with the lifeguards.
The group managed to resuscitate Mr Yong before an ambulance arrived at the scene.
Mr Tan then accompanied his friend to Changi General Hospital, talking to him and keeping him awake.
There was a similar incident just a week later.
On March 25, Mr Quek Chee Tong was playing badminton with his friends at 11am when he lost consciousness.
Mr Song Hoong Ji, a Singapore Airlines pilot who was playing badminton at the adjacent court, quickly jumped into action.
The 41-year-old remembered where the AED was located in the sports hall and grabbed it.
Mr Chan Lee Chong, a senior fitness instructor in charge of the sports hall, was also alerted. He activated the AED and administered CPR on Mr Quek.
Mr Basir and fellow lifeguard Albert Law assisted Mr Chan, and Mr Quek regained consciousness after two AED shocks.
Like Mr Yong, he is recovering from the heart attack.
Mr Basir, who was involved in both incidents, said: “I was calm and ready for any rescue.”
In the five years of working at the Pasir Ris Sports Centre, the father of two has been involved in four other emergencies.
“I am thankful for the training by the SportSG Safety Team and Lifeguard Academy. We practise weekly and monthly at the sports centre,” said Mr Basir.
On Wednesday (May 11), Mr Basir and the eight others who acted to save Mr Yong and Mr Quek Chee Tong, were awarded the SCDF Community First Responder Award and the Community Lifesaver Award.
Colonel Chew Keng Tok, commander of the 2nd SCDF Division, highlighted the need for the community to step up and save lives.
Mr Yong said he is lucky his friends knew what to do.
“I’m still alive today thanks to their prompt actions by conducting CPR and using the AED.
“Hopefully, others would be inspired by this example and learn these lifesaving skills,” he added.