BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese basketball chief Yao Ming and table tennis all-time great Liu Guoliang are among over a hundred sports celebrities set to feature in the inaugural Chinese New Year Sports Gala.
The sports equivalent to Chunwan, or the CCTV New Year's Gala, which is the world's most watched television program with a yearly viewership of over 700 million, will be aired during the Chinese lunar new year holiday in February.
Towering over the other sports stars in Monday's rehearsal was Yao Ming, a former NBA player who is marshaling the ongoing Chinese basketball reform as the president of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Liu Guoliang, who has retired as head coach of the Chinese table tennis team to commit himself to the promotion of Chinese sports culture around the world, was seen trading jokes with Yao Ming and Ding Ning, who like Liu is a a Grand Slam winner of Olympic, world championships and World Cup table tennis singles titles.
The other big names to feature in the gala include Olympic-title winning coach Lang Ping (volleyball), former Chinese shooting team head coach Wang Yifu, Tian Liang and Wu Minxia (both diving), Ma Long (table tennis), former Chinese football star Rong Zhihang and former high jump world record holder Zheng Fengrong. (Written by Jing Xu, a student from Canadian International School of Beijing)