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Swimmers coast to top awards

By Lei Lei  (China Daily)

10:26, January 22, 2013

(China Daily)

Sun and Ye voted athletes of the year after London heroics

Chinese swimming star Sun Yang does not need a special team to manage his affairs, said his coach, Zhu Zhigen.

"Swimming is different from other sports. The swimmers in China are managed by different coaching groups," Zhu said at the 2012 CCTV Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony on Saturday night.

"I'm now managing things for Sun and there are team doctors as well. We won't be setting up an agency team for him," Zhu said.

At the London Olympics, Sun claimed gold medals in men's 400m and 1,500m freestyle events, for which he won Male Athlete of the Year at the ceremony.

His marketing potential post-London has soared, making him one of the most valuable sporting commodities in China, alongside hoops icon Yao Ming, champion hurdler Liu Xiang and tennis Grand Slam winner Li Na.

Sun claimed he wanted to set up an agency team to help him deal with affairs outside of training and competitions, but when he recently returned to regular training, he said there was no need for that.

"From winning the national championship to the Olympic gold medal, there was no agency team helping me," the 21-year-old Sun said.

"I was supported by my coach, team doctors and the whole national team. Now there are more affairs to deal with, but I don't have to worry about them. The team and officials will help me arrange them."

Led by Sun, the Chinese swimming team, which won 10 medals, including five gold, at the London Olympics, was the biggest winner at Saturday's awards ceremony.

Sixteen-year-old Ye Shiwen, who stunned the world with two individual medley gold medals and a world record and an Olympic record in her Games debut, was named Female Athlete of the Year. Yao Zhengjie, head coach of the Chinese swimming team, won Coach of the Year, while the swimming squad was voted Team of the Year.

"After the London Olympics, I've shouldered more pressure and worries. But I must face all of them," Sun said. "I can conquer all the difficulties and reward my supporters with more gold medals. In 2013, I hope I can train quietly. I have more important tasks to rewrite the world record."

The annual CCTV Sports Awards ceremony, which is regarded as China's Sports Oscars, is the premier awards event on the local sporting calendar. Eleven honors were awarded from votes cast by 120 sports experts.

Olympic badminton champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng retained their title as the Pair of the Year, while men's 20km Olympic walk star Chen Ding was named Newcomer of the Year.

Xu Lijia, who won the Laser Radial class in sailing at the Games, received the honor of Sports Special Contribution, while Yao claimed the Judging Committee's Special Award.

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