Xie Xingfang

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Chinese badminton player Xie Xingfang (谢杏芳)

Xie Xingfang (谢杏芳) is former top badminton player in China's national team. She retired as a professional athlete in November 2009.

Born in January 8, 1981 in Guangdong Province, Xie enrolled into the Youth Team of the National Team in 1998. With a height of 1.79 meters and unusual talents in sports, Xie became a member of the National Team's first team in 2000.

Major achievements:

1998 World Junior Championship: Champion, women's doubles

1999 Hong Kong Open: Champion, women's singles

2000 Asia Championship: Champion, women's singles

2002 China Open: Semifinal, women's singles

2002 Denmark Open: Semifinal, women's singles

2002 Singapore Open: Semifinal, women's singles

2002 Malaysia Open: Semifinal, women's singles

2002 Indonesia Open: Quarterfinals, women's singles

2004 Uber Cup: Team champion

2004 Korea Open: Quarterfinals, women's singles

2004 All-England Open: Quarterfinals

2005 World Championship: Champion, women's singles

2005 World Cup: Champion, women's singles

Xie Xingfang and her husband Lin Dan

2006 World Championship: Champion, women's singles

In 2005, Xie Xingfang became the seventh Chinese woman to win a World Championship.

She was ranked fourth on the Chinese national team in 2004, but did not have the chance to go to Athens Olympics. Instead of letting this frustrate her, she trained harder to achieve her dreams.

"I knew I would be a success because I started to put in more effort," she said.

Success came quickly, starting with a win at the 2004 Denmark Open. Over the next two years she won five more major tournaments.

Xie Xingfang has been representing China in international competition since 1999.

Her coach chose her for badminton in primary school because she was much taller than the other children. At the beginning, she only played for fun, never imagining that she would be in contention for a gold medal.

Xie's husband is Lin Dan, also top Chinese badminton player. On Sept. 23, 2012, Xie Xingfang and Lin Dan held their wedding ceremony in Beijing. Lin says that Xie is a sweet girl who helps him in both sports and life. "We practice badminton together, discuss tactics and exchange ideas," he says. "I think our relationship hasn't taken away time from training, but instead helps us improve."