China's badminton star Lin Dan and tennis player Li Na won the Best Male and Female Athletes of the Year separately at the prestigious China's Central Television (CCTV) Sports Awards on Saturday.
After winning a back-to-back Olympic title at the London Olympics, the 30-year-old Lin took a gap year to enjoy family time. However, playing with a wildcard and remote world ranking, Lin still won men's title at last August's World Championships and went on to claim his third consecutive men's title at the Chinese National Games.
While Li became milestone in Chinese tennis history again in 2013, by finishing No. 3 in the yearend world rankings.
Apart from Li, Chinese tennis was also given highlight with Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-Wei winning the Best Pair of the Year. The close friends won titles at Wimbledon and WTA yearending Championships last year.
Li, Peng and Hsieh are all preparing for the Australian Open.
Italian coach Marcello Lippi won the Best Coach of the Year after leading Guangzhou Evergrande to the titles of the AFC Champions League and Chinese Super League. Guangzhou also won the Best Team award.
Guo Chuan, who stunned the world by finishing his nonstop circumnavigation of 138 days, received the honor of Sports Special Contribution, while long jumper Li Jinzhe, who produced a world leading 8.34m to claim the title at 2013 IAAF Diamond League Shanghai meet last May, was the winner of the Best Rookie.
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.