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Renowned volleyball player passes away

By TANG ZHE  (China Daily)

11:02, April 02, 2013

Chen Zhaodi, a renowned volleyball player, died from cancer at the age of 58 on April 1 in Beijing.

Born on April 15, 1955, Chen devoted her life to the sport since becoming involved with it in the 1970s.

Chen was selected for the Bayi team in 1973, and became a national team player in 1976, playing as a setter to orchestrate the team's offense.

She played a key role when China won the women's volleyball World Cup for the first time in 1981.

The Chinese team then claimed another four major titles in the following five years, including the World Cup, and the Olympic Games title in Los Angeles, becoming national heroes, synonymous with a "never-say-die" spirit.

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.

Chen 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, another period in which the Chinese side achieved a series of podium finishes in continental and international tournaments.

In 1993 Chen became vice-president and consultant of the Chinese Volleyball Association, and acted as technical representative of the Chinese volleyball league from 1996.

Due to her outstanding contribution to the sport, Chen was awarded the national sports medal of honor twice, and is the only Chinese sports figure to have been promoted to the military rank of major general.

She also worked as a commentator on women's volleyball during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 for China Central Television.

Lang Ping, a renowned Chinese player and volleyball coach who was a national teammate of Chen's, was shocked to hear the news of her death.

She wrote on her micro blog: "Dear Zhaodi, we were still discussing volleyball when I visited you last month. You followed every game I coached and always gave me valuable advice.

"I still remember when we won that first world championship in 1981. We were roommates, and despite your waist injury returning before the final, you insisted on finishing all five sets, despite the pain.

"We helped you to the podium after the win. Your fighting spirit will encourage me forever. I will miss you so much. We will be teammates again in the next life."

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