BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Following are China's top 10 athletes for the year of 2009 selected by Xinhua News Agency:
1. Zhang Lin (male, swimming)
The 22-year-old swimmer won the gold medal in the men's 800-meter freestyle at the Rome World Championships in July, shattering the world record and ending the gold drought for Chinese male swimmers in the world's top swimming event.
2. Guo Jingjing (female, diving)
The 28-year-old diver claimed three-meter springboard individual and synchronized titles in the Rome World Championships in July, ruling both disciplines for the fifth time.
3. Liu Zige (female, swimming)
The 20-year-old swimmer finished second in the women's 200m butterfly at the Rome World Championships in 2 minutes 3.9 seconds. Liu surpassed the world 200m butterfly record with a time of 2:01.81 at the 11th National Games. She also shattered the world mark twice at the World Cup short-course series.
4. Bai Xue (female, track and field)
The 21-year-old runner became the first Chinese to win a marathon race at the World Championships in Berlin in August. Bai also won in the 11th National Games and Asian Athletics Championships.
5. Lin Dan (male, badminton)
The 26-year-old headed China to victory in the Sudirman Cup world mixed team badminton championship in May. In August, Lin became the first male athlete to have claimed three straight singles titles in the world championships.
6. Wang Meng (female, speed skating)
The 24-year-old skater grabbed three individual golds at the World Speed skating Championships in March while pacing the Chinese team to win the 3000-meter relay.
7. Wang Hao (male, table tennis)
The 26-year-old collected both men's singles and doubles gold medals at the 50th World Championships in Yokohama, Japan.
8. Liu Xiang (male, track and field)
The 26-year-old hurdler staged a strong comeback after his Beijing Olympic withdrawal, finishing second in 13.15 seconds in the 110m hurdles at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix. Liu later achieved a hat-trick by winning the 11th National Games, Asian Athletics Championships and the 5th East Asian Games.
9. Long Qingquan (male, weight-lifting)
The 19-year-old won the 56kg class at the 11th National Games with a lift of 169kg, surpassing the world record set by Turkish Halil Mutlu. Long later claimed two golds at the World Championships in November.
10. Zhang Yining (female, table tennis)
The 28-year-old grabbed singles gold at the World Championships in Yokohama, which was her 19th world title. Zhang also defended her status at the 11th National Games with her singles and team victory.