Badminton World Federation (BWF)

Tan Chee Tean dies in car crash at 24 as Malaysia badminton mourns, just two weeks after Lee Chong Wei’s cancer news

The doubles specialist was trying to resurrect his career in Austria and suffered fatal accident in Brno, Czech Republic after playing in a tournament

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2018, 11:18am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2018, 11:24am

Malaysian badminton fans are in mourning following the death of former national player Tan Chee Tean, who was trying to make a fresh start in Europe.

The 24-year-old was killed in a car accident in Brno, Czech Republic on Friday, the news coming just two weeks after the country’s top singles player, Lee Chong Wei, announced he was suffering from nasal cancer.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) released a statement saying it was “deeply saddened by the loss”.

“I am extremely sad to learn of the passing of Chee Tean. He was a special young talent, capable of playing in both mixed doubles & men’s doubles,” BAM president Norza Zakaria said.

“His untimely demise is a huge loss not only to his family but also to the badminton fraternity. The thoughts of everyone at BAM are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Tan’s death comes soon after two-time Olympic silver medallist and former world number one Lee stunned Malaysian badminton when he announced his cancer battle.

The 36-year-old has vowed to come back and is now receiving treatment in Taiwan.

Tan left the Malaysian national set-up in February after six years with the programme in an attempt to resurrect his career in Austria. He had taken part in the Czech Open and was on his way back to Austria when the accident happened.

Lee Chong Wei diagnosed with nose cancer as Malaysian badminton ace is dealt another cruel blow

The doubles specialist partnered Tan Wee Gieen to a men’s doubles runners-up place at the 2015 Bangladesh Open and also finished second in the Thailand International Challenge with Shevon Lai in the mixed doubles in the same year.

His former partner, Chong Yee Han, said he spoke to Tan the day before he died. Tan had told him that he was ready to make a comeback in Austria.

“He told me he was settling in well and pumped up to rebuild his career from scratch since relocating there two weeks ago,” Chong told Malaysian media. “Little did I know that it was our last conversation.

“We’re both really close. Even when I left the national team recently [in July], I had moved in to stay with him at his rented house. For six years we have been living and doing many things together, I’ll sure miss him dearly.

“Chee Tean did contemplate for a while before making his move. In fact, he flew to Austria for the first time in July to check the place out. He intended to continue his study while playing and coaching.

“He asked me if this would be a good move. And I told him to give it a shot because if things don’t work out, he can always come back home. So, he returned to Austria just two weeks ago and it turned out to be the last goodbye.”