Eight prizes were handed out at the ITTF Star Awards ceremony ©ITTF

Germany’s Timo Boll and China’s Ding Ning have been crowned the respective male and female table tennis stars for 2017. 

They were named the winners at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Star Awards ceremony, which was held at the Rixos President Hotel in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana tonight.

Boll held off competition from reigning world and Olympic champion Ma Long of China, newly-crowned Men’s World Cup champion Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and Japanese prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto.

The former world number one rolled back the years to pull off several amazing comebacks and spectacular performances in 2017.

It was enough to garner the most votes from table tennis fans all over the world and an expert panel, which included athletes and members of the media.

"I am very surprised to win this prestigious award against so many top players who have had an amazing year," Boll, 36, said.

"Thanks to all my team and all the players who helped me win this amazing award.

"This award is for my fans.

"They are my inspiration."

Germany’s Timo Boll was crowned the male table tennis star ©Getty Images
Germany’s Timo Boll was crowned the male table tennis star ©Getty Images

Reigning world and Olympic champion Ding lived up to her billing as favourite to take her third female table tennis star award and become the first-ever player to achieve the feat.

She fended off competition from current world number one Zhu Yuling of China, Japanese superstar Miu Hirano and Chinese Taipei number one Cheng I-Ching,

"Thank you so much," Ding, 27 said.

"It’s a great honour.

"I want to thank the ITTF for giving me this award.

"Thank you to all who supported me.

"I will keep fighting for more awards like this.

"I promise to make this game more popular in the world."

Ding came away as the biggest winner from the ITTF Star Awards as her lightning fast rally against Zhu in the 2017 World Championships final was voted by fans as the Star Point of the Year. 

Turkey’s Neslihan Kavas was crowned the female Para-table tennis star after experiencing a successful year on the international scene.

As well as claiming a silver medal in the class nine event at the World Para Table Tennis Team Championships, she also won both the singles class nine and team class nine to 10 gold medals at the European Para Table Tennis Championships.

Class eight world number one Viktor Didukh, who actively represented Ukraine on the ITTF World Tour prior to being diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and having to have his left leg amputated, took home the male Para-table tennis star award.

This comes after he won several titles at various Para-table tennis open and championship events around the world.

Fourteen-year-old Harimoto claimed the breakthrough star award after becoming the youngest-ever ITTF World Tour singles champion and youngest-ever World Championships quarter-finalist in 2017.

The Japanese beat Boll in the Czech Open final in August. 

Germany’s Jorg Rosskopf was named the star coach having led his country’s team to reclaim the men’s team gold medal at the European Championships and helped Boll and Ovtcharov to several ITTF World Tour titles

The fair play star award was handed out to France’s Irvin Bertrand for an act he carried out at the Belarus Open.

He gave his opponent his spare racket to compete fairly in the competition.

This came after his opposite number had failed the racket control testing and was not allowed to play.

The ITTF Star Awards were held on the sidelines of the World Tour Grand Finals, which begun today and are due to conclude on  Sunday (December 17).

The Finals are taking place at Astana's "Daulet" Sports Complex.