After a successful 2011, gymnast Phan Thi Ha Thanh has been voted athlete of the year.

Thanh, 21, received 1,425 points from sport reporters after voting was held in Hanoi , Da Nang and HCM City on Dec. 29.

Thanh has made history for Vietnam by becoming the first ever athlete to qualify for the Olympics through an official tournament. She created a stir in Tokyo in October with a bronze medal in the women's vault event at the World Championships.

Thanh also pocketed a gold medal in the same event at Japan 's Toyota Cup one month later before triumphing three times at the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia .

The Hai Phong City-born girl left her runner-up swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc far behind on the list of top 10 national athletes of the year.

Phuoc, who is expected to represent Vietnam in London after an impressive performance in the men's 100m breaststroke at a tournament in Malaysia , received 1,386 points.

The Da Nang teenager is the first Vietnamese swimmer to win two golds and set one record at the SEA Games.

International Chess Grandmaster Le Quang Liem took third place with 945 points. Liem also had an impressive year with a number of titles including his second Aeroflot victory, the American Spice Cup and a silver medal from the Capablanca event.

Liem, who is 25th in the world, also topped the podium twice at the 26th SEA Games.

The rest of the top 10 were made up of runner Truong Thanh Hang, gymnast Do Thi Ngan Thuong, marksman Ha Minh Thanh, high jumper Duong Thi Viet Anh, weightlifter Tran Le Quoc Toan and taekwondo artists Chu Hoang Dieu Linh and Le Huynh Chau.

To be successful, athletes have to work hard and pay with both blood and sweat, but all this would be in vain if it wasn't for their coaches and trainers, the unsung heroes.

Following Thanh's success, Do Thuy Giang was voted coach of the year.
Giang played an important role in Vietnam 's five SEA Games gymnastics titles, and three more from the Southeast Asian Student Games this year.

Giang, who has worked with Thanh along with other gymnasts since they were small children, received 588 points to top the list of five candidates.

Swimming coach Dang Anh Tuan finished second with 413 points, followed by Ho Thi Tu Tam in track and field, on 310.

Contributing a lot to a year of Vietnamese sporting success were athletes with disabilities.

Swimmer Vo Thanh Tung was voted the best of them with his remarkable achievement of two Asian records and two gold medals in the men's 50m and 100m freestyle events at the sixth Para Games in Indonesia .

His teammate in the national and HCM City teams, Vo Huynh Anh Khoa, came second. Khoa returned home from Indonesia with three Para Games titles in the men's 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke events.

Female powerlifter Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan finished third thanks to a lift of 98kg that won her a gold medal, set a new record and earned her a ticket to participate at the London Paralympics in the women's 52kg category.

Working hard with disabled athletes, their coaches were also highlighted.

With two outstanding athletes, swimming coach Dong Quoc Cuong was voted the best of seven nominees./.