Chinese doubles specialist Zhao Yunlei to join badminton’s hall of fame

© BWF/Badmintonphoto
© BWF/Badmintonphoto

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 22, 2022: Chinese doubles maestro Zhao Yunlei is the next inductee into the Badminton World Federation Hall of Fame, joining mixed doubles contemporary Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia in the Class of 2022, BWF announced on June 21.

Zhao was possibly the most versatile female doubles player of her time in both women's doubles and mixed doubles. She had few equals when it came to dominance in two categories over an extended period and retired as one of the most accomplished players ever with two Olympic and five World Championships gold.

BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer hailed Zhao’s inclusion into the BWF Hall of Fame.

“Making the BWF Hall of Fame is the ultimate tribute in badminton,” Høyer said.

“The Hall of Fame recognises the best of the best, and Zhao surely deserves a place in this elite list.

“Winning an Olympic or World Championships gold is a dream for most athletes. That Zhao achieved a double at an Olympics and two World Championships is an incredible achievement.”

The BWF stated: “Zhao Yunlei’s assured presence, with her astute reading of the game, her skills in defence and attack and cool nerves in delicate situations, helped her win multiple tournaments, most prominently with Zhang Nan in mixed doubles and Tian Qing in women’s doubles. 

“Despite playing two categories in high-intensity events, Zhao seemed to revel in the pressure, achieving a double at the London Olympics and two World Championships. She became the only player to achieve a double at the same Olympics, and the only player to achieve a double in two successive World Championships.”

Zhao will be recognised at a virtual ceremony and media event starting 2pm on Friday, June 24.