Tragedy has hit the South African bodybuilding community…

A man has had his life cut short following a bodybuilding competition in South Africa recently.

23-year-old Sifiso Lungelo Thabethe was playing to his hometown crowd during the competition and appeared to be enjoying himself. The up-and-coming bodybuilder ran to the center of the mat and attempted a backflip. Unfortunately, Thabethe landed on the back of his neck and would later die from his injuries.

The International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) released the following statement

It is with great regret and sadness that we have to report the passing away of Sifiso Lungelo Thabethe (South Africa), due to a fatal injury at the performance of an acrobatic, at national championship en South Africa.

Sifiso Thabethe was a young talented athlete that won, last year 2016, the World Junior Bodybuilding Championship, in Santo Domingo.

We join family and friends in prayers and sorrow.

Bright Future Cut Short

A trip through Thabethe’s Instagram account reveals the love he had for bodybuilding.

In the video which chronicles the moments before his fatal injury, Thabete looks to be having fun and basking in the admiration of the crowd. He appeared to be a natural showman who enjoyed the spotlight.

Thabethe didn’t just enjoy bodybuilding, however, he excelled at it. He had already become an IFBB junior world champion. Many had him pegged as a competitor with a particularly bright future ahead of him.

Failed Landing of Back Flip Resulted in Fatal Injuries

Thabethe was declared dead upon arriving at a hospital. It is believed Thabethe had used the back-flip as part of his routine for some time successfully. The local bodybuilding organization did offer one possible explanation as to why the move went tragically wrong in this case.

“We suspect, because he was wearing socks this time, that he slipped or didn’t get enough momentum and landed horribly on his head,” Body Building South African national executive president Wayne Price told media.

YouTube video

Thabathe’s death comes during a summer which has been particularly harsh for bodybuilders. 25-year-old Australian bodybuilder, Meegan Hefford, died last month. Her death was attributed to a rare genetic disorder which prevented her from properly metabolizing a high-protein diet.

Additionally, the famous bodybuilder, Rich Piana, died at 46 years of age last month as well. Piana suffered a heart attack and fell, hitting his head. He died two weeks after being put into a medically-induced coma. His ex-wife Sara wrote the following in tribute to him:

“Rich, I hope you feel better now in heaven and that you’re up there healthy, smiling & telling everyone, ‘How it is, being REAL & doing your thing.’ Rest In Peace my dear husband.”

Find me on Instragram #@sifisolungelo

A post shared by Sifiso Lungelo (@sifisolungelo) on

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Ian is a MMA writer based out of Toronto, ON Canada. An avid mixed martial arts enthusiast and passionate fan since he was born, Ian has been writing about mixed martial arts for over 5 years.