Please select your home edition
Edition
Safety at Sea - Baltic - 2

China’s Lijia Xu – firming as London 2012 Laser Radial favourite

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 5 May 2012
Lijia Xu winning Olympic Test event Laser Radial medal race © Clive Mason/Getty Images Europe)
The top performing Women’s Laser Radial sailor on the 2011- 2012 World Cup circuit has been China's 24 year old Lijia Xu, who just won her third Gold medal of this season at the Semaine Olympique Francaise. This now positions her atop the ISAF Laser Radial Standings.

While Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) have until now been considered favourites to take Olympic Gold, Xu, the bronze medallist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, has lots of talent and she has been in great form in this vital Olympic year.

Lijia Xu, (her nickname in English is Lily) started to sail Optimists at age 10 in 1997. She won the National Girls title a year later. She won two Optimist World championships, moved up to the Europe dinghy and went on to become the 2006 Laser Radial World champion after just eight months in the class.

Xu was runner up in the Laser Radial Worlds of 2008 and made history winning Olympic bronze behind Anne Tunnicliffe (USA) and Lithuanian Gintare Volungeviciute in Qingdao, China. She was the first Chinese sailor ever to win an Olympic medal.

Xu won the Laser Radial Class medal race at the 2011 Olympic Test event in Weymouth, England after finishing fourth overall behind Marit Boumeester, Evi van Acker and Paige Railey (USA).


She then lifted a gear, winning the 2011 Open Europe titles and then Sail Melbourne, the first World Cup regatta of the season. Since then Xu won the Miami OCR and now again in Hyeres.

With Weymouth based British coach Jon Emmett showing her the way she will be amongst the favourites for London 2012.

This week Sail-World.com took the opportunity, during a training break, to ask Lily about her journey since Beijing 2008.

‘After Beijing 2008 I went back to the university, majoring in Business Management at Shanghai Jiaotong University. I had some time off from intense training to overcome injury.

‘Actually I wasn't back into sailing the Radial until this time in 2011. I initially struggled to perform well last year due to my lack of strength and technique after returning to the boat.

‘But I could feel my ‘sixth sense’ (of sailing) was still there and I've got lots of past experiences to help me recover my sailing level more quickly.

‘Since I've been spending loads of time in the gym, I’ve become fitter and fitter which has allowed my technique to show through.’



While Xu showed in Qingdao she could handle light weather Hyeres was a heavy weather regatta, so many were surprised at her good result.

Xu explained. ‘Well I had not sailed for two months after the Miami OCR due to a broken bone in my hand. That gave me the chance to be even more physical training focused, so I could push really hard to get stronger and fitter. I must say I did benefit from the solid training, despite the accident, as I am stronger than I have been and that helped in the heavy conditions.

‘I am really enjoying my return to sailing over the last year. For me it is the whole journey of everyday life I treasure the most; training, racing, travelling, studying, family and friends etc.

‘My British coach Jon Emmett gives me a completely different approach, of really understanding the sport of sailing, the positive attitude towards everything, scientific and effective training without injury, balancing personal life and career. All in all train hard, play hard and enjoy the journey in the meantime.

‘From now to the Olympics I will be mostly sailing four to five times a week, depending on the weather and the training load. And we do long speed work, short courses as well as match racing and so on. Usually my daily training program includes weights and aerobics in the gym, sailing and I end the day with a Pilates session.

‘I am very excited because we will have good Chinese sailors in Weymouth.

‘Li Ling, our top RS:X Women’s sailor is amongst the World Cup medals and our RS:X Men’s sailor Wang Aichen is getting good results.

‘Wang Weidong and Deng Daokun will represent China in the Men’s 470 class at their second Olympics.

‘Two Women’s 470 crews will be trying to qualify at this year's Worlds which will be held in Barcelona later this month.

‘For me the next major event is the Audi World Laser Radial Women's Championship 2012 from Friday 11th to Sunday 20th May in Boltenhagen, Germany.’

Xu had some flashes of good form at the last World Championships at Perth 2011, but two black flags knocked her back to 25th overall.

The upcoming Laser Radial World Championship will be another strong test for the Chinese sailor. Given her 2012 form the question is can she repeat her 2006 result?

Barz Optics - Melanin LensesNaiadT Clewring AC72

Related Articles

Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge - the retrospective -Part III
In Part III, the Question and Answer session, we will discover why Nathan’s nick name is George and why Tom is so fast Interview with Nathan Outteridge and Tom Slingsby. In Part III, the Question and Answer session, we will discover why Nathan’s nick name is George and why Tom is so fast at post capsize recovery.
Posted on 9 Nov 2015
Blast from the past, do you remember this? Great Video!!
One particular race in the 2012 London Olympic Laser Radial regatta in Weymouth was one of most watched sailing events One particular race in the 2012 London Olympic Laser Radial regatta in Weymouth was one of the most watched sailing events of 2012. Watch it again to remember exactly why.
Posted on 8 Nov 2015
Day 12 of the PSA 12 Days of Christmas
Day 12 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is $500 of a new boat. Day 12 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is $500 of a new boat.
Posted on 17 Dec 2014
Day 11 of PSA's Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas
Day 11 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is a trolley wheel on for $25. Day 11 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is a trolley wheel on for $25. Check out our Facebook page and looking at our website http://www.psasailing.com.au/shop/accessories/beach-dolley-wheels-each/
Posted on 16 Dec 2014
Day 10 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas
Day 10 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is mainsheets on sale for $25. Day 10 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is mainsheets on sale for $25. Check out our Facebook page and looking at our website http://www.psasailing.com.au/shop/ropes/ronstan-mainsheet/
Posted on 15 Dec 2014
Day 9 of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas
Day nine of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is 10% off Carbon Tillers and Extensions. Day nine of the PSA Laser Santa 12 Days of Christmas and the offer is 10% off Carbon Tillers and Extensions. Check out our Facebook page and looking at our website http://www.psasailing.com.au/product-category/laser/foils/
Posted on 14 Dec 2014
Laser Training at H20 Sports Academy Australia
H2O Sports Academy Australia is a new and unparalleled training centre based within NSW Sport and Recreation Centre. The H2O Sports Academy Australia is a new and unparalleled training centre based within the NSW Sport and Recreation Centre at Point Wolstoncroft on Lake Macquarie in NSW. Run by a team of Olympic sailors and windsurfers with the shared aim of inspiring and motivating others whilst sharing their knowledge and skills.
Posted on 6 Dec 2014
Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 - THAT Speech
Lijia Xu (CHN) was crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 at an awards night in Dublin, Ireland: Lijia Xu (CHN) was crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 at an awards night in Dublin, Ireland. The acceptance speech from the China sailor was one of the most eloquent ever heard. The acceptance speech from the China sailor was one of the most eloquent ever heard. If you have not heard it, you can catch it now.
Posted on 3 Nov 2013
Great Laser boat and rig deal for the next two weeks
Summer is just around the corner and Performance Sailcraft Australia has an amazing offer for sailors. Summer is just around the corner and Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) has an amazing offer for sailors looking to either get into their first Laser or upgrade to a new boat. PSA is running an offer until the end of October, which gives sailors the chance to buy a new boat and get a second different rig completely free.
Posted on 15 Oct 2013
Laser World Championships - Star studded entries confirmed
Star studded entries confirmed as 50 day countdown to Laser World Championships in Oman begins At the 2013 Laser Standard Men’s World Championships, organised by the Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Sail, a star studded international line up looks set as the 50 day countdown to the 16 November start of the event in Oman begins.
Posted on 29 Sep 2013