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UPDATED: January 30, 2012 NO. 5 FEBRUARY 2, 2012
Sports Stars Shine
Chinese sports celebrities gather at 2011 CCTV Sports Personality Award Ceremony
By Yu Yan

A live and exciting award ceremony drew the attention of numerous Chinese households on the night of January 15. The most popular Chinese sports stars attended the 2011 CCTV Sports Personality Award Ceremony at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing.

Walking along the red carpets, the big stars shook hands with fans and shared their New Year wishes. Of them, six sports stars were the most dazzling.

The annual CCTV Sports Awards is recognized as the Chinese version of the Laureus World Sports Awards. The awards came from votes cast by 120 sports specialists.

Sun Yang, the Best Male Athlete

PASSIONATE SWIMMER: Sun Yang at the 800-meter freestyle final at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai on July 27, 2011 (WANG YUGUO)

Winning two gold medals at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai in 2011, Sun Yang rose to be a world champion. The young swimmer, born in 1991, is also the youngest men's swimming world champion in Chinese swimming history.

He set the world men's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming record with a time of 14 minutes, 34.14 seconds on the final day of the championship. The former world record of 14 minutes, 34.56 seconds was set by Australian Grant Hackett in 2001.

Sun won four medals at this championship—two gold, one silver and one bronze. At the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, Sun set an Asian record of 14 minutes, 35.43 seconds in the men's 1,500 freestyle.

This young athlete has risen to be a big star in China and become an idol of many young people.

Li Na, the Best Female Athlete

BIG TROPHY: Li Na kisses her trophy at the French Open on June 4, 2011 (GAO JING)

Li Na, a professional tennis player, has become a legend in China. Last year, she lost the Australian Open final to Kim Clijisters, then won the French Open to become the first Asian athlete to capture a Grand Slam title.

So far, the 30-year-old has won five WTA (Women's Tennis Association) and 19 ITF (International Tennis Federation) singles titles. Currently, she ranks sixth in the world.

Liu Xiang, the Special Award of the Year

THE FOUL: Cuban Dayron Robles (right) interferes with Liu Xiang in men's 110-meter hurdles final at the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, on August 29, 2011 (SONG ZHENPING)

Liu Xiang is a dazzling sport icon in China. Born in 1983 in Shanghai, the 110-meter hurdler is the first Chinese athlete to achieve the "triple crown" of athletics: world record holder, world champion and Olympic champion. His 2004 Olympic gold medal was the first in a men's track and field event for China.

Liu gained his first world title at the 21st Universiade in Beijing in 2001, when he was 18 years old. Following this victory he began to make history, breaking the Asian and world records and then winning Olympic and world championship gold medals, respectively, in 2004 and 2007.

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