Chinese world champion Ding Ning and Germany’s Timo Boll have been crowned the respective Female & Male Table Tennis Stars at the Astana 2017 ITTF Star Awards.
Reigning world and Olympic champion Ding was honored with her third Female Table Tennis Star award to become the first-ever athlete to achieve the feat.
She fended off competition from current world No 1 Zhu Yuling of China, Japanese superstar Miu Hirano and Chinese Taipei No 1 Cheng I-Ching.
“Thank you so much! It’s a great honor! I want to thank ITTF for giving me this award. Thank you to all who supported me, I will keep fighting for more awards like this. I promise to make this game more popular in the world,” Ding, 27, said.
Ding became the biggest winner at the ITTF Star Awards as her lightning fast rally against Zhu in the 2017 World Championships final was voted by fans as the Star Point of the Year.
Boll held off competition from reigning world and Olympic champion Ma Long of China, newly crowned Men’s World Cup champion Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and Japanese prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto.
“I am very surprised to win this prestigious award against so many top players who have had an amazing year,” Boll, 36, said.
Harimoto, 14, claimed the 2017 Breakthrough Star award, after becoming the youngest-ever World Tour Singles Champion and youngest-ever World Championships quarterfinalist in 2017.
The year-ending gala dinner and award ceremony was held on December 14 at the Rixos President Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan, where the world’s best table tennis stars and coaches joined in a night of celebration for their achievements over the past year, and eight prestigious awards were handed out to the respective winners.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily