Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], June 21 (ANI): Chinese doubles maestro Zhao Yunlei is the next inductee into the BWF Hall of Fame, joining doubles contemporary Liliyana Natsir in the class of 2022.
Zhao Yunlei was possibly the most versatile female doubles player of her time. 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 - two Olympic and five World Championships gold among the several titles she picked up in her career.
BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer hailed Zhao's inclusion into the BWF Hall of Fame.
"Making the BWF Hall of Fame is the ultimate tribute in badminton," Hoyer 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," he added.
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 has a complete set of World Championship medals. She won gold in 2014 and 2015, silver in 2011 and bronze in 2013.
On Saturday, Badminton icon Liliyana Natsir was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame at the venue beloved by all Indonesian fans - Stadium Istora.
This was where she won four Indonesia Open titles, and where she retired. Liliyana Natsir is the eighth Indonesian, and only the second Indonesian woman, to be inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame after Rudy Hartono, Dick Sudirman, Christian Hadinata, Liem Swie King, Susi Susanti, Tjun Tjun/Johan Wahjudi and Rexy Mainaky/Ricky Subagja.
Among the many achievements in her career, the most striking are an Olympic gold and silver, and four World Championships titles. (ANI)