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Li Na named Laureus exceptional award winner

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-15 20:58

Li Na named Laureus exceptional award winner

Former tennis player Li Na poses for photographs with her award at the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards, in Shanghai April 15, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

SHANGHAI, April 15 - Chinese retired tennis star Li Na won the Exceptional Achievement award instead of the Sportswoman of the Year in a six-person competition, for her contribution to the promotion of the sport in China, at the 16th Laureus World Sports Awards here on Wednesday.

"It's a recognition from premier world sports awards. For me, it's a fortune to choose tennis," said Li, who collected her second Grand Slam title in Australian Open in 2014.

However, Li, along with her arch rival Serena Williams of the United States, did not put their hands on the trophy, and the honor went to Ethiopian track and field star Genzebe Dibaba.

On February 1 in Karlsruhe, Dibaba broke the 1,500m indoor record, five days later it was the 3,000m in Stockholm. On February 15 in Birmingham, she broke the two-mile record, joining Jesse Owens of the United States and Usain Bolt of Jamaica as the only athletes to break world records in three different events in just half a month.

"I was not aware of this award (Exceptional Achievement) before, so all of my attention was put on Sportswoman of the Year," Li said.

"I wonder if I had a chance to beat Serena in this year's ceremony, especially when it's held in Shanghai," she added.

However, the former Chinese tennis ace felt honored enough to be a nominee for this award, due to the fact that "there are so many excellent athletes and only six of them can become the nominees at last."

China's another prominent sports figure Yao Ming was awarded Spirit of Sport, based on his contributuion to social welfare. The 2.26m Shanghai local celebrated his glory at the ceremony, becoming a newcomer to Laureus World Sports Academy.

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