by Ian Marshall, Editor
Prior to emigrating to Europe, representing her native China at the World Championships in 1983 in Tokyo, lining up alongside Cao Yanhua, Tong Ling and Huang Junqun, she won women’s team gold. Later partnering Guo Yuehua she claimed the mixed doubles title.
Notably of those named on the Montreux women’s entry list, she is the only player born before the first tournament was staged in 1971 in Zadar, more importantly, she is the most successful. No player in this year’s women’s event can match Ni Xia Lian.
She has medals of every colour, she was a bronze medallist in 2000 in Alassio, in 2002 in Rotterdam and more recently in 2012 in Lyon. Meanwhile, in 2001 in Wels she secured silver, after having won the title in 1996 in Charleroi. She repeated the feat the following year in 1997 in Eindhoven before making it three in a row in 1998 in Halmstad.
Winning three times puts her in very illustrious company, England’s Jill Parker, Austria’s Liu Jia and Hungary’s Csilla Batorfi all won three times; one step higher, Li Jiao of the Netherlands emerged successful on four occasions.
However, none won on three consecutive occasions; the only other player to achieve that distinction is Hungary’s Beatrix Kishazi who prevailed in the first three editions of the tournament. She won in 1971 in Zadar, in 1972 in Zagreb before completing the hat-trick in 1973 in Böblingen. Later in 1977 she regained the title in Sarajevo.
A podium finish in Montreux; she has already matched Beatrix Kishazi by winning three times in row.
Can she equal the Hungarian by winning four times? It would be a remarkable feat for the tournament’s most senior player. It is not out of the question.