For the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Dongfeng Race Team will today announce the first Chinese sailors to join the team’s Official Training Squad. Eight sailors from the first selection trials in December will now go forward into the training programme as the team announced the dates for the second round of selection trials taking place on the 8th-9th of February.
Dongfeng sea trials in Southampton 12th December 2013.
The creation of Dongfeng Race Team is based on finding the best of the best and training them to be better. The aim is to recruit sailors not just from China but from across the world. Following a successful first round of trials held before Christmas, Dongfeng Race Team Director, Bruno Dubois, and his selection team, have hand-picked eight from the original twenty Chinese sailors trialled; Ying Kit Cheng, Xue Liu, Yiran Zhang, Liang Wu, Jin Hao Chen, Jiru (Wolf) Yang, Sheng Shen, and Ming Liu.
'We were overwhelmed with the amount of interest we received in our project,' said Dubois. 'We had an Olympic athlete taking part in the first selection trials which gives you an idea of the caliber of the applicants and it was a tough decision making process! However, this is where the hard work really begins for these eight sailors to try and earn a place in the final race crew. We have the second round of trials scheduled for the eighth-9th February and we expect more Chinese athletes to join these guys in the coming weeks so that we have a training squad of around 12-14 to work with.'The ultimate aim for the Chinese sailors is to be selected as one of the race crew to compete on board ‘Dongfeng’ in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
Amongst the eight sailors announced today is Cheng Ying Kit, previously part of the America’s Cup China Team, Kit has his eyes firmly on the Volvo Ocean Race prize: 'Sailing is a massive part of my life and the Volvo Ocean Race is one of the biggest events in offshore sailing, it’s my dream.'Another successful candidate is Liu Ming, who has been engaged in sailing for over ten years: 'I’m confident and full of passion to accept this challenge. It may be the most important voyage of my life,' said Liu. Olympic dinghy Laser sailor Shen Sheng who represented his country at the Beijing Olympics also made the cut after an excellent performance at the selection trials. 'These men have a tough time ahead, sailing around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race is a huge achievement in itself, but for these sailors it means carrying the hopes of their country on their shoulders and becoming part of a sailing legacy in China,' concluded Dubois. 'This is Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle’s first sponsorship in the sport of sailing and it would be fantastic to win. We’re not here just to make up the numbers so we need to make sure the men we select are capable and share our ambition.'
Hopeful candidates who missed the cut off for the first selection trials now have a second chance to demonstrate their skills at the second round of selection trials to be held on the eighth-9th February at the team’s Official Training Facility at Serenity Marina, Sanya, China.
Training with specialised coaches will commence next week with the eight sailors covering physical fitness, first aid, sea survival training, radio operator training, and boat handling skills… They will then race from Hong Kong to Sanya on board two Jeanneau SF3200’s with one coach and one Onboard Reporter per 4-person team.
For a complete list and information on the selected sailors please see below.
Ying Kit Chen is from Hong Kong. Born in 1980, he speaks both Chinese and English. Kit has sailed in the 29er Australian Sailing Championship, Asian Sailing Championship, 49er Grand Prix, and in 2011 was part of China Team for 34th America’s Cup. 'My ambition is to be one of the top sailors in my country. I want to promote sailing as a sport to the people in my country.'
Xue Liu is from Shangdong province, China. Born in 1993 he already has a very impressive sailing history. He joined China Team in 2012 and has taken part in prestigious international sailing events such as the America’s Cup in San Francisco, the China Cup International Regatta, the Extreme 40 in Qingdao, and the Liuzhou China River Regatta, to name a few!
'The Volvo Ocean Race is honoured as the ‘Mount Everest’ amongst all the sailing competitions. Participating in the competition would be an amazing opportunity to improve my sailing skills. I really want this.'
Yiran Zhang is from Qingdao in the Shangdong province of China. Born in 1990 he started Finn sailing in 2006 and quickly moved up to national level. Like Xue Liu, he too joined China Team in 2012 and participated in international regattas such as the America’s Cup, China Cup International Regatta and the Liuzhou China River Regatta.
'The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the largest professional sailing events with such world influence. None of us can imagine the extent of hardship during the race. Dongfeng Race Team is the team representing China in the next edition of the race. And to represent China in Volvo Ocean Race has been my dream. I have already been well prepared for any hard training and troubles. I will prove myself through my efforts and performance. I will try to join Dongfeng Race Team and represent China.'
Liang Wu is born in 1971 and is from Shanghai, China. As a member of America’s Cup China Team, he attended the First Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Regatta in Auckland, New Zealand and the Extreme 40 sailing race in Qingdao. As skipper and helmsman of Team Whitewave, he won the Champion of fourth and third China-Japan-Korea keel boat regatta in 2011 and 2010. He also won the Champion of Xiamen sea kayak marathon around-island challenge match in 2007, number two in 2011 and number three in 2010.
'As a Chinese sailor, I want to compete in the Volvo ocean race for the Chinese team. I believe Dongfeng Race Team will achieve a great result in the coming race.'
Jin Hao Chen is a Hong Kong based sailor born in 1992. He has been sailing since early 2002 and last year took part in the America’s Cup in Naples. He also took part in the Extreme 40 Sailing Series in Qingdao for China Team. Parallel to these achievements he studies sails design and production in Hong Kong.
'I want to challenge myself and live life at the extreme but, more importantly, I want to inspire more people from my country to take part in sailing'
Jiru (Wolf) Yang is from Liaoning province, China. Born in 1990 he has sailed in the China Club Cup Challenge Match Team performance, the Dongshan International Sailing Regatta Festival where he won first place, the Xiamen New Year sailing race first place, the Liuzhou River Regatta and the America’s Cup in Naples for China Team.
'Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s most influential voyage sailing event, so it would be of a great honour for a sailor to participate in this event.'
Olympic sailor Sheng Shen was born in 1979 and is from the Guangdong province, China. He participated for four consecutive years in the National Games sailing regatta, in 2006 he took part in the Asian Games Regatta, he has participated in four European sailing series regattas and seven Laser World Sailing Championships. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games he represented China in the sailing laser class. He has also participated in the Around Hainan Island Sailing Regatta, China Cup, Club Cup, and numerous other regattas in China.
Ming Liu was born in 1984 and is from the Chinese province Guangdong. He speaks fluent Chinese and English. He is a sailing athlete and has been engaged in the sport for over ten years. He was 470 sailor in China’s National Sailing Team and like Sheng Shen has participated in various regattas in China.
'The Volvo Ocean Race will give me the opportunity to race around the world. I am confident and full of passion to accept this challenge. It may be the most important voyage of my life. I really hope I will be given the opportunity to become a part of Dongfeng Race Team.'
Volvo Ocean Race