MANILA, Philippines - A former badminton sensation was killed when her car swerved into the opposite lane of the C-5 flyover before being rammed by a closed van in Pasig City yesterday.
Karyn Cecilia Velez, 24, of Unit D 16, Casa Verde Townhomes Lanuza, Barangay Ugong suffered severe body injuries.
She was rushed to the Medical City but was pronounced dead at about 2:25 a.m. by Maria Veronica Dating Ginoo, said Senior Superintendent Mario Rariza, Pasig City police chief.
“Karyn was bubbly, jolly, a happy-go-lucky person,” Kennevic Asuncion, the former national team mainstay and the first Filipino to qualify for the World Badminton Championships in 2003, said of Velez, who suited up for the Philippines in the 2009 Sudirman Cup.
“I remember how we had a hard time teaching her badminton since she was still young but after that she did well. She started badminton with us (Asuncion Badminton Center) before moving to the US,” added Asuncion, one of her close friends on the circuit.
Velez’s death came on the day of the finals of the BWF World Championships in Guangzhou, China.
Badzine, the world No. 1 badminton webzine, also posted Velez’s untimely passing with Don Hearn, a Badzine correspondent, sharing a feature story on the Filipina player in 2011, describing her as one of the new breed of badminton stars.
Leanne Choo, Velez’s friend from Australia, also made her appeal on Badzine, asking the fallen young star’s friends to do a video for her family.
“Karyn has touched the lives of many badminton players around the world. I would like to organize a small video tribute with all of you to send to the Velez family,” said Choo.
Velez was the country’s former No. 1 but opted to move to the US to get more ranking points. In a tournament in Australia in 2009, she was invited by the Kuala Lumpur Rackets Club to train in Malaysia.
“In the Philippines, I was at the Asuncion Badminton Center. The facilities and the training were good there but there were too many distractions. I had my friends and family. At KLRC, there is really nothing for me to do but eat, sleep, wake up and play badminton,” said Velez.
According to Rariza, Velez was driving her Honda Civic (ZED 789) on the northbound lane of the C-5 flyover and was apparently on her way home at about 12:10 a.m. yesterday.
Witnesses told police investigator PO3 Cristino Silayan of the Pasig City police that Velez’s car went past the center island and into the opposite lane before it was hit in the right side by an Isuzu aluminum van (RMN 285) driven by Argie Biagtan, 32, of Mapandan, Pangasinan.
Because of the strong impact, Velez sustained severe body injuries, said Rariza.
Responding elements of the Rescue Team of Barangay Ugong rushed Velez to the hospital, while Biagtan, who also sustained body injuries, gave himself up to Silayan.
Biagtan and his two helpers, who were also hurt, are now being treated at a hospital.