BEIJING, Feb 1 Swimmer Ning Zetao and tennis superstar Li Na won the Best Male and Female Athletes of the Year resepectively at the prestigious China’s Central Television (CCTV) Sports Awards here on Sunday.
The annual CCTV Sports Awards, recognized as the Chinese version of the Laureus World Sports Awards, is taken as the premier honors on the Chinese sporting calendar.
Ning beat out other four nominees, including badminton superstar Lin Dan and 2014 Table Tennis Men’s World Cup winner Zhang Jike, to claim the honor.
The 21-year-old Ning claimed four gold medals at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and also broke men’s 100m freestyle Asian record.
Li claimed both the Best Female Athlete of the Year and the Sports Special Contribution, for serving as a great milestone for the development of Chinese tennis.
Li Na won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier in 2014 and ranked world No. 2, the highest ranking that an Asian player, male or female, has ever achieved, but she retired from tennis at the age of 32, citing injuries as reasons to force her out.
Female skater Zhang Hong, who claimed China’s first ever Olympic speed skating gold after winning the women’s 1000m title with a large margin at the Sochi Winter Olympics, won the honor of Best Breakthrough of the Year, while the quartet of Chen Shiwei, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng, who broke the Asian record and won the men’s 4x100m relay at the Asian Games, won the Best Relay/Pair of the Year.
The volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping and her Chinese national women’s volleyball team became the biggest winners here for the silver medal at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in 2014. Jenny claimed the Best Coach of the Year, the women’s volleyball team won the Best Team of the Year, and the 18-year-old young star Yuan Xinyue received the Best Rookie as well.
Chen Penbin, who became the first Chinese to claim an international ultra-marathon title and also the first runner to compete in all seven continents, claimed the Non-Olympic Athlete of the Year.