Zhang Ning
张宁
Zhang Ning.jpg
Personal information
CountryChina
Born (1975-05-19) 19 May 1975 (age 47)
Jinzhou, Liaoning, China
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight64 kg (141 lb; 10.1 st)
HandednessRight
Women's singles
Career record385 Win, 97 Loss
Highest ranking1
BWF profile

Zhang Ning (simplified Chinese: 张宁; traditional Chinese: 張寧; pinyin: Zhāng Níng; born 19 May 1975) is a former Chinese badminton player. She won the Olympic gold medal twice for women's singles in both 2004 and 2008. She has played badminton on the world scene since the mid-1990s and has been particularly successful since 2002 while in her late twenties and early thirties, relatively late for singles at the highest level, and especially for top players in the Chinese system who are developed very early. She is known for her consistency of shot, deception and constant pressure, dictating the pace of rallies and working her opponents in all four corners of the court. She is the only female player to win consecutive Olympic singles gold medals. She also became World champion in 2003 and has a total of five medals of all colours in the competition.

Zhang first represented China in the Uber Cup (women's world team championship) competition in 1994 and last represented it in 2006. Though she was not always chosen to play in each of the biennial editions of this tournament, the span of her Uber Cup service is the longest of any Chinese player.

Career

2003

Although she had previously won a number of international open titles dating from the mid-1990s, Zhang's breakthrough as a dominant player on the world circuit came in the 2003 IBF World Championships, where she stormed into the final. There, 28-year-old Zhang Ning defeated compatriot Gong Ruina easily 11-6, 11-3.

2004

The following year, Zhang played badminton at the 2004 Summer Olympics for China. In women's singles, she defeated Marina Andrievskaya of Sweden and Kelly Morgan of Great Britain in the first two rounds. In the quarterfinals, Zhang beat Wang Chen of Hong Kong 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 to advance to the semifinals. There, she defeated countrywoman Zhou Mi 11-6, 11-4. Zhang defeated Netherlands's Mia Audina 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 in the final to win the gold medal. It was sweet revenge for the 29-year-old, who had lost to Audina 10 years earlier in the decisive match of the Uber Cup. With her Olympic win, she became one of three singles players in the world to win the World Championship and the Olympic Games (in either order) in successive years, the others being Susi Susanti and Taufik Hidayat.

2005

Zhang also claimed many titles after her breakthrough wins. She bested Xie Xingfang in the 2005 China Open 3-11, 11-4, 11-8, but in the 2005 World Championships final Zhang fell to Xie Xingfang, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11.

2006

In 2006, Zhang reached the finals of the World Championships yet again, but she was still unable to defeat Xingfang. This time, she lost 16-21, 14-21. However, Zhang claimed revenge in the Japan Open, defeating Xingfang 21-11, 16-21, 30-29. This was the 19th time they had met in an international tournament, with the head-to-head tied at 9-9.

During this year the well known Dutch documentary filmmaker Roel van Dalen made the documentary film Olympic Journey - The Road to Beijing on the life of Zhang Ning, which was broadcast on television worldwide.

2007

In 2007, Zhang won her fifth Singapore Open title in six times, beating Xingfang 21-18, 19-21, 21-3. In the World Championships, Xingfang was defeated in the third round by Malaysian Wong Mew Choo, making Zhang a favourite for the title. However, she was stopped in the semi-finals by Wang Chen. This was the second time Wang Chen had beaten her in 2007, after the Indonesian Open. Zhang's compatriot Zhu Lin went on to beat Wang in the final 21-8, 21-12. In the Beijing Good Luck Invitational tournament, Zhang reached the semi-finals to face Zhu Lin but pulled out due to injury.

In the Danish Open, she reached the final, but lost 17-21, 14-21 to compatriot Lu Lan due to a thigh injury. Zhang also reached the semi-finals of the French Open, but was upset by local hope Pi Hongyan.

In the China Open, Zhang lost in straight sets to Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo in the semi-finals. Zhang cited injury and fatigue as the main reasons for her loss.

2008

Zhang's 2008 season started with a first round loss in the Malaysian Open. She was seen coaching her younger teammates in the tournament as well. In the Korean Open, she lost to her former compatriot, Zhou Mi, in the quarter-final. Zhou now plays for Hong Kong. In the All England, Zhang and Xie, the top 2 seeds, lost in the first round. However they both bounced back strongly in the Swiss Open to reach the final, for their 22nd international meeting. To be in the final was a relief for Zhang, who had failed to get past the quarter-finals in three previous tournaments. Still, Xie beat Zhang 21-18, 21-17, bringing their head-to-head stands to 11:11.

Later, at the Beijing Olympic Games, Zhang progressed to the quarter-final after overcoming South Korean Jun Jae Youn in the third round. She then subdued fifth-seeded Pi Hongyan of France and Indonesia's Maria Kristin Yulianti 21-15, 21-15 to reach the final. There she faced compatriot and world number 1 Xie Xingfang and won in a tough three-setter, 21-12, 10-21, 21-18, to extend her gold medal reign. Zhang became the first badminton player to ever defend an Olympic singles title even though many questioned her ability to do so at the age of 33. She was additionally chosen to represent China as the flag bearer for the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.

Retirement

Having previously announced her plans to retire after the 2008 Olympic Games, a retirement ceremony for Zhang and other retiring members of the Chinese national team was held at the 2008 China Open Badminton Championships in Shanghai in November 2008.[1][2] She was in tears receiving an award during the ceremony to mark her retirement with five other teammates from the Chinese national badminton team on the sidelines of the China Open badminton event in Shanghai, November 23, 2008.[3] After her retirement, Zhang Ning immediately began working with the Chinese national team in coaching and developing the up-and-coming women's singles players. In 2018 however she was replaced by Luo Yigang as the coach of China's women's badminton team following the below par performance of team at the Uber Cup.[4]

Achievements

Olympic Games

Women's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2004 Goudi Olympic Hall, Athens, Greece Netherlands Mia Audina 8–11, 11–6, 11–7
Gold medal.svg
Gold
2008 Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium, Beijing, China China Xie Xingfang 21–12, 10–21, 21–18
Gold medal.svg
Gold

World Championships

Women's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2001 Palacio de Deportes de San Pablo, Seville, Spain China Zhou Mi 5–11, 9–11
Bronze
Bronze
2003 National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, England China Gong Ruina 11–6, 11–3
Gold
Gold
2005 Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, United States China Xie Xingfang 8–11, 11–9, 3–11
Silver
Silver
2006 Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad, Madrid, Spain China Xie Xingfang 16–21, 14–21
Silver
Silver
2007 Putra Indoor Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Hong Kong Wang Chen 11–21, 15–21
Bronze
Bronze

World Cup

Women's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2005 Olympic Park, Yiyang, China China Xie Xingfang 19–21, 16–21
Silver
Silver
2006 Olympic Park, Yiyang, China China Wang Yihan 19–21, 18–21
Bronze
Bronze

Asian Championships

Women's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
1999 Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia China Ye Zhaoying 8–11, 5–11
Silver
Silver
2001 PhilSports Arena, Manila, Philippines Hong Kong Wang Chen 11–1, 11–3
Gold
Gold
2002 Nimibutr Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand China Zhou Mi 11–6, 3–11, 8–11
Silver
Silver

Asian Cup

Women's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
1996 Olympic Gymnasium No. 2, Seoul, South Korea China Zeng Yaqiong 5–11, 11–2, 11–4
Gold
Gold

East Asian Games

Women's singles

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
1993 Shanghai, China China Shen Lianfeng 8–11, 8–11
Bronze
Bronze

Women's doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
1993 Shanghai, China China Qin Yiyuan South Korea Kim Shin-young
South Korea Shon Hye-joo
12–15, 11–15
Silver
Silver

BWF Superseries

The BWF Superseries, launched on 14 December 2006 and implemented in 2007, is a series of elite badminton tournaments sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). BWF Superseries has two levels, the Superseries and Superseries Premier. A season of Superseries features twelve tournaments around the world, introduced in 2011, with successful players invited to the BWF Superseries Finals held at the year's end.

Women's singles

Year Tournament Opponent Score Result
2007 Swiss Open China Lu Lan 21–16, 21–18 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2007 Singapore Open China Xie Xingfang 21–18, 19–21, 21–3 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2007 China Masters China Xie Xingfang 11–21, 21–8, 21–23 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2007 Denmark Open China Lu Lan 17–21, 14–21 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2008 Swiss Open China Xie Xingfang 18–21, 17–21 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
  Superseries tournament
  Superseries Premier tournament
  Superseries Finals tournament

IBF World Grand Prix

The World Badminton Grand Prix sanctioned by International Badminton Federation (IBF) from 1983 to 2006.

Women's singles

Year Tournament Opponent Score Result
1994 French Open Malaysia Liu Yuhong 7–11, 11–7, 11–7 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1994 Brunei Open China Hu Ning 11–3, 6–11, 11–6 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1996 Swedish Open South Korea Ra Kyung-min 6–11, 11–2, 11–4 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1996 Malaysia Open China Wang Chen 11–7, 11–8 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1996 China Open China Wang Chen 11–6, 11–6 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1998 All England Open China Ye Zhaoying 5–11, 8–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1998 Malaysia Open China Dai Yun 11–1, 11–3 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2001 Singapore Open China Dai Yun 7–1, 4–7, 7–2 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2002 Korea Open China Gong Ruina 7–0, 5–7, 7–1, 7–2 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2002 Singapore Open China Zhou Mi 6–11, 3–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2002 Indonesia Open China Gong Ruina 6–11, 7–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2002 China Open China Gong Ruina 5–11, 8–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2003 Swiss Open Hong Kong Wang Chen Walkover 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2003 Singapore Open China Zhou Mi 11–0, 11–8 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2003 German Open Denmark Camilla Martin 11–7, 11–3 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2003 Hong Kong Open China Gong Ruina 11–5, 11–9 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2004 Korea Open South Korea Jun Jae-youn 11–6, 11–5 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2004 Malaysia Open China Zhou Mi 9–11, 11–7, 11–8 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2004 Singapore Open China Zhou Mi 11–8, 11–1 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2005 German Open China Xie Xingfang 5–11, 4–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2005 All England Open China Xie Xingfang 3–11, 9–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2005 Japan Open China Xie Xingfang 11–7, 11–8 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2005 Singapore Open Hong Kong Zhou Mi 11–5, 11–7 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2005 Malaysia Open China Zhu Lin 11–6, 11–2 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2005 China Masters Hong Kong Zhou Mi 11–3, 5–11, 11–3 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2005 Hong Kong Open China Xie Xingfang 11–4, 1–11, 11–6 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2005 China Open China Xie Xingfang 3–11, 11–4, 11–8 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2006 German Open China Lu Lan 11–8, 11–3 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2006 All England Open China Xie Xingfang 6–11, 11–4, 2–11 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2006 Chinese Taipei Open China Xie Xingfang 21–15, 21–15 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2006 Malaysia Open England Tracey Hallam 21–12, 21–13 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
2006 Hong Kong Open China Xie Xingfang Walkover 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
2006 Japan Open China Xie Xingfang 21–11, 16–21, 30–29 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner

Women's doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
1993 Dutch Open England Joanne Goode Indonesia Finarsih
Indonesia Lili Tampi
9–15, 3–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up

Record against selected opponents

Record against year-end Finals finalists, World Championships semi-finalists, and Olympic quarter-finalists.

References

  1. ^ "Zhang Ning: A Veteran Badminton Player > PROFILES > SPORTSWOMEN". Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
  2. ^ "Veteran Olympic and world badminton champions retire - Sports News - SINA English".
  3. ^ "Veteran badminton champions retire -- china.org.cn".
  4. ^ "Overhaul begins as China women's badminton coach Zhang Ning is fired". 13 June 2018.
Olympic Games Preceded byLiu Xiang Flagbearer for  Chinaat the Olympics closing ceremony Beijing 2008 Succeeded byXu Lijia