As the 2013 ISAF World Sailing of the Year awards loom it’s timely to look back to last year.
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. If you have not heard it, you can catch it now. Here is Lijia's speech in full and the video.
At the London Olympics, Lijia Xu, the 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medallist went into the Weymouth regatta as favourite, having dominated the Sailing World Cup circuit leading up to games, after some severe injuries hindered her return to the Radial until 2011.
Lijia Xu tastes Gold - day 9 Medal race - Laser Radial. London Olympics 2012 - Carlo Borlenghi/FIV - copyright
In a drama filled series she won the Medal race and the first ever Olympic Gold medal in dinghy sailing for China.
She was voted 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year.
Recalling the evening Carlo Croce said 'When I heard Lijia Xu's speech at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards I had never heard such a young lady speak such wonderful English.
'Her speech at the Awards ceremony was very special. She is a role model for everybody sailing and a real ambassador for China.
Here is Lijia's speech in full and the video.
'Thank you everyone presenting tonight Awards Ceremony and sharing this wonderful and memorable of my career.
'Actually there was a time that I complained that God was unfair to me because I have only half the listening ability of ordinary people and there was a time I complained that God’s being unfair to me because my left eye can barely make out any character.
And there were times when I faced retirement due to my hand and leg surgeries as well as some other severe injuries however I am lucky enough to be able to continue sailing to this day and conquered all the difficulties and setbacks confronted me.
'Looking back all those mentioned above are just testing elements and processes that God’s trying to figure out whether I am worth of an Olympic Champion.
'It is the sport of sailing which gives me the chance to chase for my dreams. Sailing presents me the stage to show my potentials.
'Sailing provides me the opportunity to see, feel and explore the world and sailing leads me to a path to a better life. A life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences.
'Nowadays I have learned to cherish every part of my body and be grateful for anything it can do and support me. Life is full of happiness when I truly open my eyes with a positive attitude.
'Embrace it, appreciate it with my whole genuine loving heart.
'Thank God for sailing what a lifelong sport. Thank you everyone.'
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
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4:13 PM Sat 2 Nov 2013GMT
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