President Wei leads tributes to Chen Zhaodi
“I am greatly shocked to learn with deep sorrow of the passing away of the renowned player,” Mr Wei wrote in a letter of condolence. “She was an excellent player and a hero of China, who had dedicated all her energies throughout her life to Chinese volleyball development.”
Chen was born on April 15, 1955 and became involved with volleyball during the 1970s. She was selected for the Army team in 1973 and became a national team player in 1976, where she played as an opposite.
She was a key player when China won the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup for the first time in 1981 and the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in 1982.
After retiring in 1983, Chen coached the national junior team from 1986 to 1987 and nurtured a crop of talented young players to third place in the 1987 FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship.
Chen survived a cancer scare in 1988 and returned to the sport following two operations. From 1989 until 1992 she was the Chinese women’s team manager and helped them to success in continental and international tournaments. Then in 1993 she became vice-president and consultant of the Chinese Volleyball Association.
Due to her outstanding contribution to the sport, Chen was twice awarded the national sports medal of honour and is the only Chinese sports figure to have been promoted to the military rank of major general.