Ma Long & Liu Shiwen are the 2015 Male & Female Table Tennis StarsPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
2015 World Champion MA Long, and 2015 Women's World Cup Champion LIU Shiwen are the respective 2015 ITTF Male & Female Table Tennis Stars at the 2015 ITTF Star Awards.
The 2015 ITTF Star Awards was held on 9 December at the Patio da Gala in Lisbon, Portugal, to honor and celebrate the table tennis stars, athletes and coaches, for their achievements in 2015. Eight prestigious awards were given out on star-studded evening in the city's emblematic landmark.
The two most eyed awards of the year, the Male and Female Table Tennis Stars were determined by the 60,000 public votes from fans all around the world, combined with the judging results from an expert panel consisting of ITTF Athletes' Commission, the ITTF President, and various international media.
Hot favourite for the night, MA did not disappoint the majority of the fans who voted for him on the ITTFStarAwards.com voting page to claim the 2015 Male Table Tennis Star Awards presented by Seamaster, after becoming the 2015 World Champion and 2015 Men's World Cup Champion.
After fending off contest from compatriot FAN Zhendong, European Champion Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, and 2014 World Tour Grand Finals Champion Jun MIZUTANI, the current world number one shared "Thank you for the award and to everyone who has supported me, this award is recognition of my best ever year in 2015. This award means a lot as it's the first time I have won it and I want to win it again and again. I will continue to work hard and success next year."
The Female Table Tennis Star Awards presented by Nittaku saw hot contest between DING Ning (CHN), Kasumi ISHIKAWA (CHN), LIU Shiwen (CHN), and Petrissa SOLJA (GER). It was LIU who secured the most votes to take home the prestigious award with her.
The four time Women's World Cup title holder stated: "It is a great honour to receive this award; my thanks to the ITTF and everyone who has supported me. This award is a very special way to finish 2015 and I hope for even more success in the Olympic year next year."
The 'Point of the Century' played by FANG Bo and MA Long at the Qoros 2015 World Championships Men's Singles final that generated over 2 million views on YouTube, was also named the 2015 Table Tennis Star Point presented by DHS.
The Male and Female Table Tennis Stars for the Para Table Tennis category went to Indonesia's Class 9 player David Jacobs and Serbia's Borislava PERIC-RANKOVIC (Class 3) respectively for their achievements in the 2015 Continental Para Championships and Para events around the world.
With the spectacular results posted by the Chinese team in 2015, the Head Coach LIU Guoliang was the natural winner for the Star Coach of the year presented by Butterfly.
New to the 2015 ITTF Star Awards, a Breakthrough Star award presented by TMS International was given out to Japan's 15-year-old sensation Mima ITO. ITO was not only the youngest ever winner of an ITTF World Tour event, but also made it to the Japanese Olympic team line up for Rio 2016 Olympic Games at a young age of 14.
In addition, a Fair Play Star award was handed out to Linor CITAKU and Vlona MALOKU from Kosovo for their act of fair play at the Qoros 2015 World Championships. The pair lent their spare rackets to their opponents in the first round of the mixed doubles competition who failed their racket testing, to ensure that the match continued.