(; born 19 May 1975 in Jinzhou
) is a female badminton
player from the People's Republic of China. She won the Olympic gold medal twice for women's singles in both 2004
. She has played badminton on the world scene since the mid-1990s and has been particularly successful since 2002 while in her late twenties and early thirties, relatively late for singles at the highest level, and especially for top players in the Chinese system who are developed very early. She is the only player of either sex to win consecutive Olympic
singles gold medals.
Zhang first represented China in Uber Cup
(women's world team championship) competition in 1994
and last represented it in 2006
. Though she was not always chosen to play in each of the biennial editions of this tournament, the span of her Uber Cup service is the longest of any Chinese player.
Although she had previously won a number of international open titles dating from the mid 1990s, Zhang's breakthrough as a dominant player on the world circuit came in the 2003 IBF World Championships
, where she stormed into the final. There, 28-year old Zhang Ning defeated compatriot Gong Ruina easily 11-6, 11-3.
The following year, Zhang played badminton at the 2004 Summer Olympics
for China. In women's singles, she defeated Marina Andrievskaya
of Sweden and Kelly Morgan
of Great Britain in the first two rounds. In the quarterfinals, Zhang beat Wang Chen
of Hong Kong 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 to... Read More