BEIJING - China's Winter Olympic heroes will compete primarily against their swimming compatriots after the final nominees for the 2010 CCTV Sports Personality of the Year awards were announced on Thursday.
Following the votes of 215 judges, five nominees for each of the 10 awards were released by the organizers. They were selected from 141 first-round candidates.
Regarded as China's "Sports Oscars", the ceremony honors the most outstanding groups and individuals in sport for the year.
This year's awards, the 10th edition of the event, have 10 categories including Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.
Chinese winter sports athletes and coaches, who performed remarkably well at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games at the beginning of this year, have nominees in five categories; as have the swimmers, who earned 24 gold medals out of 38 at the Guangzhou Asian Games last month.
Li Yan, head coach of the Chinese short track speed skating team, and Yao Bin, head coach of China's figure skating team, were nominated as the Coach of the Year, together with coaches of China's traditional sports, table tennis (Liu Guoliang) and badminton (Li Yongbo).
Young skater Liang Wenhao, who was crowned the men's 500m short track speed skating world champion early this year, was among the nominees for Newcomer of the Year. He will face strong challenges from swimmers Sun Yang, who claimed the gold medal in the men's 1,500m freestyle at the Guangzhou Asian Games, Tang Yi, who claimed four gold medals and two silver also at the Guangzhou games, and another Asian Games champion, Ye Shiwen.
The Winter Olympic women's 3,000m short track relay champion team will compete with the men's Asian Games 4x200m freestyle team, for the Combination of the Year. Figure skating pairs Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo and Pang Qing/Tong Jian, who won gold and silver medals respectively in Vancouver, will also be strong candidates.
Triple Winter Olympic gold medalist Wang Meng is among those up for the Female Athlete of the Year, together with teammate Zhou Yang, swimming world champion Zhao Jing and tennis ace Li Na.
On the men's side, shuttler Lin Dan, who realized a career grand slam at the Guangzhou Asian Games, will be challenged by star hurdler Liu Xiang and gymnastics world champion Chen Yibing.
The winners will be announced on Jan 16, 2011, at a gala ceremony at the National Convention Center in Beijing.