Yearender: Top 10 Chinese sports personalities of 2020

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — As the sporting year draws to a close, here is Xinhua News Agency’s selection of the top 10 Chinese sports personalities of 2020:

1. Zhang Weili (female, mixed martial arts)

30-year-old Zhang, China’s first-ever UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) world champion, retained her strawweight title with a split decision victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the United States on March 7.

2. Gu Ailing (female, freestyle skiing)

In January, 17-year-old Gu took two golds in the women’s Freeski halfpipe and big air events at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland. The following month, Gu topped the podium twice in the women’s halfpipe and slopestyle event in FIS Freeski World Cup in Calgary, becoming the first freestyle skier to win back-to-back titles in one World Cup competition.

3. China’s women’s basketball team

On February 8, China edged Spain 64-62 in the FIBA women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgrade, Serbia, securing a berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games with three consecutive wins.

4. Ju Wenjun (female, chess)

29-year-old Chinese chess grandmaster Ju defended her title at the 2020 women’s World Championship in Vladivostok, Russia, defeating 21-year-old challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina 8.5-7.5 on January 24.

5. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (female/male, figure skating)

China’s Olympic silver medalists Sui and Han won their sixth ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships pairs gold medal in Seoul, South Korea, on February 8.

6. Ke Jie (male, Go chess)

In November, 23-year-old Ke became the youngest Chinese Go player to win eight world championship titles. It was also his fourth title at the Samsung World Go Masters. Days later, he made the final of the LG Cup for the first time.

7. Chinese Mountaineering Team

The Chinese Mountaineering team reached the summit of Mt. Qomolangma in May, with their 150-minute stay the longest in Chinese history.

8. Liu Guoliang (male, table tennis)

China’s 44-year-old table tennis chief Liu was named chair of the newly-formed World Table Tennis Council on June 29, with ambitions of making table tennis one of the world’s leading sports. In November, the ITTF women’s World Cup opened in Weihai City on China’s east coast, signaling the return of international table tennis tournaments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

9. Xu Jiayu/Yan Zibei/Zhang Yufei/Yang Junxuan (swimming)

The Chinese quartet broke the world record in the mixed 4x100m medley relay with a time of three minutes 38.41 seconds at the Chinese national swimming championships on October 1, beating the previous record by 0.15 seconds.

10. Chen Meng (female, table tennis)

World No. 1 Chen, 26, beat her compatriot Sun Yingsha 4-1 to win her first ITTF women’s World Cup in November. Two weeks later, she became the first player ever to win four ITTF Finals titles in a row.

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