'This is a great win for Hong Kong': From cancer to World Cup glory, Wu Siu-hong strikes home in Las Vegas ten-pin bowling
Hong Kong prodigy finally clinches the one title he has been targetting for 17 years after recovering from testicular cancer
Cancer survivor Wu Siu-hong battled his inner demons to win the 51st QubicaAMF World Cup in Las Vegas to produce one of the greatest comebacks for a Hong Kong athlete on Friday.
Victory at one of bowling’s most prestigious singles tournament was more than just a moral win for the 31-year-old former whizz kid.
It proved that there was life after cancer after being diagnosed with the illness before last year’s Asian Games in Incheon.
Second seed Wu defeated South Africa’s Francois Louw 2-0 in the best-of-three games final at Sam’s Town Bowling Centre.
The World Cup is considered one of the world’s prestigious bowling titles with bowlers from 88 countries taking part.
Hailed as a prodigy at the age of 16 after capturing double gold medals at the 2001 East Asian Games, Wu’s world seemed to have crashed before him when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in March last year.
Four years ago, he almost quit the sport when his father died, and he wasn’t sure whether he would play again after his cancer diagnosis.
But Wu’s fairy-tale comeback was completed when he lifted the one title he has been targeting since becoming a full-time athlete as a teenager.
“I’ve waited 17 long years for this one. I got a good coach [Bill Hoffman]. I made a few good shots. I was a bit lucky in the first game when I had that lucky strike. I just worked hard for every shot and finally I won it,” said Wu after his historical triumph.
“I made the first eight the first time, too [top eight in the competition]. This time, I did my best and I really had a good week,” he said.
Wu took advantage of a crossover strike to win the first game against top seed Louw 233-219 and then took the title after winning the second game, 223-180.
“For me, this is very special,” Wu told bowl.com. “This is a great win for Hong Kong, and it gives me confidence. My highest finish in the World Cup was ninth, so this is very special,” said the former prodigy, who defeated Singapore’s Jaris Goh 2-0 in the semi-final.
“My health got better after I underwent surgery. To win the World Cup is like a dream come true for me,” said Wu.
In an interview with Chinese online Sports Road in April, Wu spoke about his fears about his illness and whether he would ever bowl again.
“Last year in March when I was about to start my preparations for the Asian Games [Incheon] I discovered that I had testicular cancer. I was really shocked and worried. I couldn’t sleep for days.
“After confirming it was stage one testicular cancer, I decided to go for surgery within a week of being diagnosed. Although it happened in a very short period of time, I still felt very scared and worried because I didn’t know what will happen next. Even though my doctor told me it was curable, I didn’t want to tell my team as I didn’t want anybody to worry about me.
“My doctor said I could resume bowling three months after surgery. But I didn’t want to tell my coach and my team until I recovered. I didn’t want to affect the morale of my team, especially with the Asian Games coming up,” he said
Wu said he underwent chemotherapy twice, completing his treatment in May of last year.
“The treatment was very successful. My hair didn’t fall out. My movement was okay and my wound wasn’t too painful.”
Vivien Fung Lau Cheung-chu, the Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress chairperson, said Wu had done extremely well, coming back from his cancer plight and richly deserved the title.
“He has taken real good care of his health after recuperating from his illness. He actually resumed training in June because he felt he was burned out after competing in the Asian Games and the 2014 World Championships [Abu Dhabi] in December.
"Siu-hong told me that competition was really tough and that every lane was different from the others [in Las Vegas venue]. This is a very prestigious title because it has been going on for 51 years,” she said.