Thu, May 26, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Former track-and-field star Ku Chin-shui dies at 56

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Former decathlete Ku Chin-shui (古金水) died of leukemia at National Taiwan University Hospital yesterday morning.

He was 56.

Ku was best-known for representing Taiwan at the Asian Athletics Championship several times and was the decathlon silver and gold medalist in 1983 and 1985 respectively.

He was also the decathlon gold medal winner at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

His best performance in the pole vault was 5.05m, which broke the national record set by Olympian Yang Chuan-kwang (楊傳廣).

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook that Ku was an extraordinary Taiwanese athlete, who dominated track and field both at home and overseas in the 1980s and 1990s. She said Ku was an ambassador for the sport.

Taiwanese athlete Chi Cheng (紀政) also posted an announcement about Ku’s death on Facebook.

She said Ku was able to hang on until yesterday because he was supported by his friends and his extraordinary will.

She said she was proud of him and he can rest from all the hardships in his life.

Born in 1960 in Hualien, Ku was an Amis Aborigine and began track-and-field training in junior-high school. He and another Taiwanese decathlete, Lee Fu-an (李福恩), jointly turned the 1980s into the golden age of track and field in Taiwan.

Ku was later accused of being involved in an explosion on a Uni Air flight in 1999.

Though he was acquitted of all charges in 2011, the lawsuit destroyed his athletic career. For a time, he was forced to take a job at a steel factory because nobody else would hire an alleged aircraft bomber.

Ku later became a coach at Taichung Municipal Chung Ming Senior High School in 2008.

He was diagnosed with leukemia at the end of 2014 and was undergoing bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy at the National Taiwan University Hospital.

Using a wheelchair, Ku participated in the New Year Walk hosted by Chi’s Hope Foundation earlier this year.

“It was painful to undergo the chemotherapy and I managed to get through the entire process with the will and determination of an athlete. I thank all of you for your support,” Ku said at the time, adding that his dream was to train more young athletes.

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