China’s renowned volleyball player Chen Zhaodi passes away
FIVB Honorary Life President, Wei Jizhong expressed his sadness on learning about the passing of Chen Zhaodi. “I am greatly shocked to learn with deep sorrow of the passing away of our renowned player. She was an excellent player and a Chinese hero, who dedicated all her energies throughout her life to Chinese volleyball development.”
Chen was selected for the army team in 1973, becoming a national team player in 1976 where she played as an opposite to orchestrate the team's offense. She was a key player in China’s win at the women's volleyball World Cup in 1981 and then at the women's Volleyball Championship in 1982.
After retiring in 1983, Chen studied at the Beijing Institute of Physical Education. From 1986 to 1987, Chen coached the national junior team, nurturing a crop of talented young players to third place in the 1987 Women's Junior Volleyball World Championships.
Zhaodi left her coaching post after being diagnosed with cancer in 1988, but returned to the sport after two major operations, as team manager of the women's national team from 1989 to 1992. It was during this time that the Chinese side achieved a series of podium finishes in continental and international tournaments. In 1993 Chen became vice-president and consultant at the Chinese Volleyball Association.
Due to her outstanding contribution to the sport, Chen was awarded the national sports medal of honour twice, and is the only Chinese sports figure to have been promoted to the military rank of major general.
Lang Ping, a renowned Chinese player and volleyball coach who was a national teammate of Chen, was shocked to hear the news. "Your fighting spirit will encourage me forever. I will miss you so much. We will be teammates again in the next life," she wrote on her micro blog.