Lijia Xu reigned supreme in the Laser Radial Medal Race at London 2012 to claim the first Olympic gold medal in a dinghy for China and Asia. In one of the most open classes at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, a four way fight for supremacy developed and although Xu held the lead heading into the Medal Race, just one point separated the top four. It was winner takes all.
Lijia Xu Medal race - Laser Radial. London Olympics 2012
Xu sailed a clinical race using all of her sailing experience garnered from winning the Girls Optimist World title in 2001 and 2002 to taking bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Her dream was realised when she crossed the line in first place leaving the others scrapping behind her for the final podium places.
After Beijing 2008 the Chinese sailor was relatively quiet on the international stage, turning out at key events. Despite sustaining a hand injury in her final preparations for her second Olympic Games, Xu returned to form when it mattered, winning three consecutive ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas in strong fields.
At a tricky 2012 Laser Radial Worlds in Boltenhagen Xu showed the fleet that she was ready for any challenge and took silver medal to enter London 2012 as the dark horse in the hunt for medals.
Joining Xu as female nominees for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 are Tamara Echegoyen, Angela Pumariega and Sofia Toro (ESP), Helena Lucas (GBR) and Saskia Sills (GBR).
The winners are selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world. The MNAs are now invited to vote for the male and female nominee they believe most deserves the Award.
The winners will be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards presentation and dinner, taking place on Tuesday 6 November 2012. The venue for the event is the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland.
Each winner will be presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece.
Lijia Xu WSOY profile
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards website