Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

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?

Zhik ZKG 660x82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Naiad

Related Articles

A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
Caleb Paine on winning a US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award
I talked with Caleb Paine about his recent US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his Olympic plans. On August 16, Caleb Paine broke the longest-running medal ceremony dry spell for American-flagged Olympic sailors since the 1930s when he captured a bronze medal in the Finn class at the Rio 2016 Olympics. I recently caught up with Paine on the phone to talk about his proud US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his future sailing plans.
Posted on 10 Mar
A Q&A with Lloyd Thornburg about his love of fast boats and racing
I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore. Not too many world-class sailors hail from the high deserts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but Lloyd Thornburg isn’t your average sailor. The 37-year old investor flies the New York Yacht Club’s burgee from his fleet of raceboats that have included a Gunboat 66, a MOD70, and a Farr 280. I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore.
Posted on 8 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb