Badminton Life

Zhou's Return to The Top "A Miracle"

Hong Kong's former China star Zhou Mi has described her return to the top of the world rankings as "a miracle".

Having actually retired a year and a half ago, Zhou switched her allegiance to Hong Kong and decided to return to the circuit. With strong performances at the Danish and French Opens, the 29-year-old is now ranked number one in the world ahead of China's Lu Lan.

She was quoted in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post as saying: "I am not a young player any more and I thought I was past my prime.

"But having started from scratch with a world ranking of outside 200 to surge back to number one within such a short space of time at my age is, nonetheless, a miracle.

"Although this is not a gold medal at a major games or a world title, it is recognition of the hard work and effort I have put in over the last 18 months and will definitely boost my confidence."

This is her third stint as world number one, having occupied the summit in 2002 and 2004.

After a long spell in the Chinese national squad, she suffered a knee injury which speeded up her exit from the team.

She moved to Hong Kong under a scheme that lured talented Chinese in all walks of life to the former British colony.

With renewed vigour, she played under Hong Kong colours and has returned to the top of her game.

"Being the world number one as a member of the national squad is nothing to boast about as China is a dominant force in world badminton," she said.

"You have the best players around you, the best training partners, the best support service, but it is certainly not the case in Hong Kong as you have to put in 110 per cent effort in order to achieve it.

"I am now enjoying the sport much more, having much more fun but with less pressure than when I was with the China team."

Zhou is now looking forward to the world championships in Pune, India next year. She reached the final of the 2001 event, semi-finals in 2003 and was a first-round loser in 2005.

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