ABU DHABI - Widely heralded as one of the world’s biggest sporting icons, former NBA star Yao Ming has agreed to become part of a prestigious judging panel for a new global sport awards event.
China's most famous sporting figure will be one of the main contributors to the Sport Media Pearl Awards - a competition to showcase the very best in sport journalism.
Also a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics, the former Houston Rockets player will be part of an elite judging panel looking at entries from sport journalists from all over the world who report on everything from amateur to professional sport.
Speaking ahead of the event in December, Yao Ming declared: "At their very best, sport journalists deliver the passion and emotion involved in sport in a way that truly moves you.
"From writers telling the story where a competitor has beaten all the odds to achieve victory to the photographer who has perfectly captured an incredible sporting moment - these awards are there to highlight just how great they are.
"From a personal point of view, I will never forget some of the reporting that went into chronicling my journey to the NBA.
"That is another big reason why I am so proud to be involved in the Sport Media Pearl Awards."
His Eminence Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media, added: "As a cultural gateway between East and West where global sporting influences converge, Abu Dhabi is ideally placed to host this ground breaking international award."
Submissions are open in six categories - Writing, Photographic, Audio, Video, Journalistic, Weblog and Sport for a Better World.
Sports journalists from all over the world are being asked to submit their entries.
There are also three special categories which are not open for submission, but will be awarded by the judging panel. They are A Life in Sport, Investigative Reporting and Best App.
A road show to promote the awards at key global sporting events will incorporate including the Diamond League Athletics Championship in Qatar and the UEFA Champions League Final in Germany - the European Games in Azerbaijan has already been covered recently.
A special conference will also be held on the morning of the awards.
The winners in each category will receive a trophy and $10,000.
For more details of the awards and on how to register, click here.