Following are the top 10 athletes of China for the year of 2011 selected by Xinhua News Agency:
1. Li Na (tennis)
The 29-year-old made history as the first Chinese and Asian tennis player to enter a Grand Slam singles final at the Australian Open. Later in June, Li was crowned as the first-ever Grand Slam champion for China and Asia in the French Open, beating defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (0).
2. Sun Yang (swimming)
The 20-year-old won the men's 800 and 1,500 meters freestyle gold medals at the 14th FINA World Championships in July. Sun clocked 14:34.14 in 1,500m to break the world record of 14:34.56 set by Australian Grant Hackett 10 years ago.
3. Zhang Jike (table tennis)
The 23-year-old dethroned top seeded Wang Hao to clinch the men's singles title at the World Table Tennis Championships in May. Zhang beat Wang again at the World Cup to become only the third player to sweep both World Championships and World Cup singles titles in the same year after Swede Jorgen Persson in 1991 and Chinese Kong Linghui in 1995.
4. Lin Dan (badminton)
The 28-year-old garnered eight titles in 2011, including April's Asian Championships, August's World Championships and December's World Superseries Finals.
5. Hou Yifan (chess)
The 17-year-old successfully defended her world championship title in November.
6. Li Yanfeng (athletics)
The 32-year-old won the women's discus event with a throw of 66.52 meters in the World Athletics Championships in August and triumphed in the Brussels Diamond League in September.
7. Wu Minxia (diving)
The 26-year-old won the women's 3m springboard title at the 14th FINA World Championships in July. She was also awarded as the 2011 FINA Best Female Diver in December.
8. Li Na (fencing)
The 30-year-old won the women's epee final at the World Fencing Championships in October.
9. Chen Yibing (gymnastics)
The 27-year-old led China to the men's team title in the World Gymnastics Championships in which he also won the rings gold.
10. Liu Xiang (athletics)
The 28-year-old hurdler recovered from injuries to clock an impressive time of 13.00 seconds at the Prefontaine Diamond League meeting and later took a silver medal in the World Athletics Championships.