Belgian decathlete Thomas Van der Plaetsen will defend his title at the World University Games in the Korean city of Gwangju and compete in the decathlon for the first time since the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zürich.
A lot has happened for Van der Plaetsen since winning his first title in Kazan two years ago. He improved his decathlon PB of 8255 to finish 15th at the 2013 IAAF World Championships and then broke his own Belgian indoor heptathlon record to take bronze at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships with 6259.
Later that year, however, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent treatment throughout the winter as athletics took a back seat. After being given the all-clear earlier in 2015, the back-to-back European junior and U23 champion, gradually increased his training load and returned to competition in May.
After a few low-key competitions, Van der Plaetsen now feels ready for a full decathlon and is eager to defend his title at the World University Games being held from July 8-12.