China’s only volleyball player abroad earns a whopping HK$12 million a year in Turkey

Rio Olympic Games gold medallist isn’t too bothered that she’s the world’s highest paid volleyball player after signing a contract extension with her Turkish club last month

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 July, 2017, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 July, 2017, 11:41am

Chinese star Zhu Ting shrugged off her huge salary as the world’s highest paid volleyball player as a “form of encouragement” after she signed a contract extension with her club in Turkey for a reputed salary of 1.35 million (HK$12 million).

The 22-year-old Chinese outside spiker will play for Vakıfbank Istanbul in the Turkish League for another season but the Rio Games gold medal winner insisted she didn’t decide the amount nor was there any pressure on her earning such a whopping salary.

Arriving in Macau for the latest leg of the FIVB World Grand Prix, which begins on Friday, Zhu raised eyebrows when it was known she had become the world’s highest paid volleyball player after signing a contract extension last month.

But Zhu took it all in her stride without making too much of a fuss of her multimillion-dollar contract.

“Any figure is a form of support made by an outside party to the players, whether it is high or low,” said the outside hitter, who has just finsihed her first season with the Turkish side where she helped them lift the European Champions League trophy.

“I would rather say this is a form of encouragement for players and a target for them to work for.”

Zhu, from Henan province, is the only mainland player playing abroad but more Chinese volleyball players are expected to follow in her footsteps if the chance arise.

“Whether a player can join an overseas club depends on a number of factors and if the moment is right, there may be more [players going overseas],” she said.

United States captain Carli Lloyd, who will join another Turkish side, Fenerbachce, next season, praised Zhu’s performance in Turkey, saying she deserved her high income and insisted there wasn’t t any jealousy by other players in the Turkish league.

“She is one of the best players in the world,” said Lloyd. “I don’t know how much she is making, but I know she is amazing and so whatever she is making, I am sure it’s right for her.”

China were thrashed 3-0 by the United States in the last match of the Kunshan leg in Jiangsu last week after registering two wins over Russia and Italy.

“This is the first year in the Tokyo Olympic cycle and our target is to give more opportunities to different players,” he said.

“Zhu was identified during the last Olympic cycle for the Rio Games and we hope more young faces like Zhu will come up in the next one or two years so we build up for Tokyo.”

The coach also paid tribute to Zhu’s overseas experience which helped become an integral part of the Chinese national team. The 1.98 metre powerful hitter came on as substitute to help China beat Italy and Russia but Zhu was rested during their defeat by the United States.

“She is definitely more mature than before and she also showed improvement in her tactics and overall strategy. If possible, we hope more players can go overseas to gain more international exposure before bringing home useful experience.”

China will meet Italy in their first match in Macau on Friday while the United States will meet Turkey.