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Chou Tien-chen reveals battle with colorectal cancer after winning Thailand Masters

Chou Tien-chen's emotional victory at the Thailand Masters unveils a hidden battle, as the badminton star reveals his triumph over early stage colorectal cancer in 2023.

Chou Tien-chen reveals battle with colorectal cancer after winning Thailand Masters

Chou Tien Chen in action at India Open 2023. (PritishRaj/TheBridge)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 5 Feb 2024 4:01 PM GMT

Chou Tien-chen, the Taiwanese badminton sensation, secured the men's singles title at the Thailand Masters on Sunday, defying expectations in an event typically outside the realm of top-10 players. However, the celebration that followed his victory revealed a deeper, more profound story.

After defeating Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in a gripping 62-minute match, Chou lay on the court, covering his face while panting, a moment that went beyond the challenges of the game. An emotional moment emerged as Chou's physiotherapist, Kao Min-shan, was captured praying at courtside after the win, hinting at a more significant narrative.

In a post-match interview with CNA, the 34-year-old Chou revealed a deeply personal struggle—he had been diagnosed with early stage colorectal cancer in 2023. Chou revealed that he realised about cancer when he decided to undergo a routine physical at the beginning of the year, realizing he hadn't had one for several years. The unexpected diagnosis led to surgery to remove the cancerous part of his colon. Despite another doctor's suggestion for a follow-up a year later, Chou opted for immediate action, emphasizing the importance of early detection.

The surgery, which required cutting more of his large intestine than usual, didn't deter Chou. Remarkably, just a day after the operation, Chou resumed competing overseas, highlighting his determination. Although the cancer didn't significantly impact his training, dietary changes were necessary.

Chou's competitive performance in 2023 saw a dip, with only one title at the Hylo Open in Germany. His world ranking plummeted from No. 5 to No. 14.

Now, with the Thailand Masters triumph, Chou sees an opportunity to share his story publicly. As he prepares for upcoming tournaments in Europe, he hopes to inspire others, reminding them that setbacks can be overcome with determination and a positive mindset.

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