Singapore national hurdler Zaki Sapari killed in Valentine’s Day tragedy

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National hurdler Zaki Sapari (right), seen here with national track legend C Kunalan. (YouTube screengrab)

It was meant to be a day of celebration but instead ended in tragedy for Singapore national hurdler Zaki Sapari and his friends and family.

The 22-year-old full-time national serviceman was killed and pronounced dead on the scene when his motorcycle collided with a lorry on Mandai Road on Friday evening.

The national junior men's 400m hurdles record-holder and also 2011 Jakarta SEA Games bronze medallist had been looking forward to compete and win Singapore's first ever gold medal in 400m hurdles at next year's SEA Games in Singapore.

The Singapore Athletics Association and athletics community were devastated by the sudden loss and published a tribute video to "one of the brightest hurdling talent the Republic has unearthed in decades".

"He was a humble and well-liked young man, evident from the outpouring of love and tributes," said the description which accompanied the video.

Fellow track athlete and national distance runner Soh Rui Yong said, "More than his exploits on the track, I will remember Zaki for being an incredibly fun and easy-going guy, yet hardworking and focused when it came to getting his goals in life."

110m hurdles sprinter Hakeem Halim added, "He was gonna go far, had already come so far. For a person so young, so in tune with the world, to go, it's just not fair. Not fair. Zaki, you were one of the good guys. May you be in a better place."

Lu Weiyi, "I have always known him to be one of the most humble, down to earth, dedicated and hardworking guy. Above all, a great friend. Though our times we had together been short, they will always be in my heart. Until we meet again."