China's Ma Long headlines the nominees for the male table tennis star award ©Getty Images

World champions Ma Long and Ding Ning headline the nominees for the 2017 male and female table tennis star awards.

The winners of the awards are due to be crowned at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Star Awards ceremony in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on December 14.

Ma and Ding, both of whom are from China, have enjoyed a superb year with the highlight being their singles triumphs at the World Championships in German city Düsseldorf.

The former also tasted victory at the 2017 Qatar and Japan Opens having already been crowned the 2016 World Tour Grand Finals champion.

Ding’s other successes came in the women’s doubles competition at the World Championships and at the China Open.

Ma is one of four contenders for the male honour with Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the 2017 World Cup champion, also among the nominees.

"After the best year of my career it is perfect to cap it off with a nomination for the ITTF Star Awards," Ovtcharov said.

"I hope to add another trophy to my cabinet from a truly year to remember in Astana."

Japan's Tomokazu Harimoto, who at the age of 14 became the youngest-ever winner of an ITTF World Tour event with victory at the Czech Open in August, is also in the running for the male award.

The man he beat in the Czech Open final, Germany’s Timo Boll, completes the list.

Boll took the silver medal at the 2017 World Cup and was also a Korean Open and European Team champion this year.

Joining Ding on the list of female nominees is fellow Chinese Zhu Yuling, the 2017 World Cup champion.

Zhu, who has received an ITTF Star Awards nomination for the first time, also won silver at the 2017 World Championships and came out on top at the 2016 World Tour Grand Finals.

"I'm very happy to be nominated, I have imagined about it in the past, and now it's finally my chance," she said.

"The World Cup title is a victory against myself, and a small step towards the Grand Slam.

"But it's in the past now, there's more challenges ahead in the future and I will take them down one by one."

Japan's Miu Hirano, the Asian champion and World Championships bronze medallist, is also in contention for the female award.

Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the World Championships mixed doubles silver medallist and the World Cup bronze medallist, completes the list. 

Fans can now vote for their star player of 2017 here.

Voting will end on November 24.

The results will be combined with the judging outcome by an expert panel, which will include the nominees' peers and the media.

Five rallies have also been nominated for the Star Point of the Year award and can be viewed here

In addition to the awards for the male and female table tennis stars and table tennis star point, five other prizes will be handed out in Astana.

They will be for the male and female Para-table tennis stars, table tennis star coach, table tennis breakthrough star and table tennis fair play star. 

The nominees for these awards are due to be announced in the coming weeks.