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Asian Games rider dies after fall

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DOHA, Qatar -- The Asian Games was struck by tragedy on Thursday as a South Korea competitor was killed during the three-day event equestrian competition.

Kim Hyung-chil died after being thrown from his horse Bundaberg Black during the cross-country section.

The 47-year--old, a silver medal winner in the three-day team event at the 2002 Games, suffered head, neck and chest injuries and never regained consciousness.

"We have opened a formal inquiry into this tragic accident. I don't want to speculate on the results of that inquiry until it is completed," said Chris Hodson, vice-president of the International Equestrian Federation at a press conference called on Thursday.

Kim, the oldest member of the South Korean equestrian team, had been the 11th rider of 32 to tackle the 2,470 meter course in heavy rain at the Doha Racing and Equestrian club.

He came to grief at the eighth of 23 fences as Bundaberg Black failed to negotiate the obstacle and Kim was thrown off, the horse tumbling on top of him.

Kim came from a well-known equestrian family. His father Kim Chul-gyu competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and is credited with popularizing the sport in South Korea.

Doha was the younger Kim's fourth Asian Games and his death stunned the South Korean contingent.

"I'm very sorry this tragic accident occurred," said Chung Hyung-sook, South Korea's team leader. "I feel totally responsible and my heart is broken."

Chung said South Korea was considering withdrawing from equestrian out of respect to Kim.

All competitors observed a moment of silence on Thursday shortly after Kim's death. He leaves a wife and two children.

Kim tackles a fence on Bundaberg Rock before he was kiled in a fall.

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