Beijing : China`s leading women tennis ace Li Na and world swimming champion Sun Yang won respectively the Best Female and Male Athlete Awards at the 2011 CCTV (China Central Television) Sports Personality of the Year held in Beijing on Sunday.
Though both absent from the award presentation ceremony at the National Stadium on Sunday, they sent their messages for the occasion.
"I`m now in Melbourne, preparing for the Australia Open, and I`m sorry that I cannot be there with you," Li Na said through a VCR shown at the ceremony.
Sun Yang, who is away training in Australia, also expressed his appreciation for the award in a telephone interview.
Liu Xiang, men`s 110m hurdles champion at the Athens Olympic Games and runner-up of World Championships 2011, took the Judging Committee`s Special Award.
With their men`s doubles title at the World Championship 2011, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng won the Best Pair Award. "It was a pity that we didn`t won the championship at the 2008 Olympic Games, but we`ll work more in the following months of training for better results at the 2012 Olympic Games," said Fu Haifeng.
The world chess champion Hou Yifan retained her title as the Best non-Olympic athlete. Short-track speed-skater Fan Kexin was the winner of the Best Rookie.
Former Winter Olympic champion Yang Yang, now an IOC member and a launcher of Champions Funding for retired athletes in 2011, received the honor of Sports Special Contribution.
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. The 11 titles came from the votes cast by 120 sports specialists.