ZHANG Jike (CHN) and LI Xiaoxia (CHN) have been crowned the first ever Male and Female Table Tennis Stars at a glamorous evening at the Raffles Hotel in Dubai.
Organised in cooperation with the Dubai Sports Council, the inaugural "2013 ITTF Star Awards Driven by GAC Motor" attracted the who's who of the table tennis world, and was an event of glitz and glamour.
Current Olympic Champion ZHANG Jike, who successfully defended his World Championship gold in 2013, stated when receiving the "2013 ITTF Male Table Tennis Star sponsored by Ping Pong Dubai" trophy: "It is a very big honour to win this award".
"Sorry that I have won both the awards tonight!" exclaimed Zhang, referring to his other win Fan's Table Tennis Star Award. "This award does not belong to me, it belongs to all the table tennis people across the globe. Lets all keep on playing this sport we love, and I look forward to more success in the future."
The first ever "2013 Female Table Tennis Star presented by Vision Magazine Dubai", Li Xiaoxia, who added the 2013 World Championship gold to her Olympic gold she won in London 2012 stated: "Thank you everyone for their support, especially Chinese table tennis. I am very honored to win this prestigious award, especially as it is the first one in history. I will try my best in the future to bring more success."
The Male and Female Table Tennis Star were nominated by the ITTF Athlete's Commission and the winners were selected the ITTF Star Awards Selection Commission which comprised of a representative from the ITTF Athlete's Commission, ITTF Para Division and the ITTF President Adham Sharara.
China's Ma Lin capped off a memorable 2013 by becoming the "2013 Para Male Table Tennis Star presented by Tinsue", after beating a stellar field of nominees.
An emotional Anna-Carin Ahlquist (SWE), who was unbeaten since she won the London 2012 Paralympics, was crowned the "2013 Para Female Table Tennis Star presented by Stag International".
The 2013 Para Table Tennis Stars were nominated by the ITTF Para Division, and the ITTF Star Awards Selection Commission then chose the deserving winners.
Current world number ones Ma Long (CHN) and Liu Shiwen (CHN) were taken by surprise when the ITTF Star Award's title partner GAC Motor handed over keys to two brand new cars, the Trumpchi GA3, after ending the year as the World Number 1 out of 300 million people who play the game.
Over 80,000 people flocked to ITTF.com/StarAwards to vote for the ITTF Fan's Table Tennis Star players to determine who was the most popular table tennis players on earth. Zhang Jike (CHN) added to his trophy collection by becoming the "2013 Fan's Male Table Tennis Star presented by TMS International", while team mate and world number one Liu Shiwen's (CHN) legion of international fans ensured that she was the "2013 Fan's Female Table Tennis Star presented by Nittaku".
In addition to awarding the world's best players for their achievements in 2013, the "2013 ITTF Star Awards Driven by GAC Motor" also raised $246,000 for ITTF's corporate social responsibility program, Dream Building, which will be used for Para Table Tennis, Development and Junior Table Tennis initiatives.
Full list of ITTF Star Award Winners:
Male Table Tennis Star presented by Ping Pong Dubai – Zhang Jike, China
Female Table Tennis Star presented by Vision Magazine Dubai – Li Xiaoxia, China
Para Male Table Tennis Star presented by Tinsue – Ma Lin, China
Para Female Table Tennis Star presented by Stag International – Anna-Carin Ahlquist, Sweden
Fan's Male Table Tennis Star presented by TMS International – Zhang Jike, China
Fan's Female Table Tennis Star presented by Nittaku – Liu Shiwen, China
Table Tennis Star Rally presented by TMS International – Timo Boll, Germany, at 2013 World Table Tennis Championships
Full list of Nominees: http://bit.ly/Jvqi9d
Rights Free Pictures: http://bit.ly/1et9afS
Promo video: http://bit.ly/1kuqypO
Male Table Tennis Star presented by Ping Pong Dubai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOD292DvqV4
Female Table Tennis Star presented by Vision Magazine Dubai: http://youtu.be/zijNoAmsYso
Para Male Table Tennis Star presented by Tinsue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yErnwKQ3WW4
Para Female Table Tennis Star presented by Stag International: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7t1oB3SgqM
Fan's Male Table Tennis Star presented by TMS International: http://youtu.be/bNyUrmGMHLc
Fan's Female Table Tennis Star presented by Nittaku: http://youtu.be/pD1AsE68VUE
Table Tennis Star Rally presented by TMS International: http://youtu.be/91jJgRZWuDc
For any other questions or queries, please contact ITTF's Promotion Manager Matt Pound at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About International Table Tennis Federation
The International Table Tennis Federation is responsible for the global sport of table tennis and has 218 affiliated National Associations. Table Tennis is an Olympic Sport, introduced at the 1988 Seoul Olympics Games. Table Tennis is also a Paralympic Sport.
Find out more about the International Table Tennis Federation at ITTF.com