Please select your home edition
Edition
GAC Pindar 2018 Leaderboard

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 2018 Yacht 728x90 BOTTOMRS Sailing BOTTOMMelges 14 2018 Footer

Related Articles

Billy Besson & Marie Riou lead France SailGP Team
Marseille event will serve as the league championship Four-time world champion and 2016 Olympian Billy Besson was today announced as the helmsman for the France SailGP Team.
Posted today at 10:25 am
GAC Pindar celebrates GAC Panama Office
The Group opens its own company in the country Superyachts and yachts transiting the Panama Canal can now do so with the assurance of the quality service synonymous with GAC, after the Group opened its own company in the country.
Posted today at 7:00 am
Nic Douglass reports from Etchells Worlds
Murray takes the first gun Day one of the Etchells World Championship in Brisbane got off to a slow start while competitors waited for the breeze to fill from the south-east.
Posted today at 6:28 am
Multi70 Maserati and Rambler 88 take line honours
In the 50th Rolex Middle Sea Race Rambler crossed the finish line of the 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Monohull Line Honours at 02:07:55 CEST on Tuesday 23rd October.
Posted today at 3:50 am
Golden Globe Race day 113: Lepage rescue update
Expected to be evacuated from his dismasted yacht today French solo yachtsman Loïc Lepage is expected to be evacuated from his dismasted yacht Laaland shortly after first light on Tuesday (23:30 UTC Monday). By then both the bulk carrier Shiosai and the sailing yacht Alizes II will have reached
Posted today at 2:09 am
Draheim & Favela capture Championship of Champions
Three victories in four races in US Sailing Championship event Bill Draheim (Royse City, Texas) and Rod Favela (Heath, Texas) rode a string of three victories in four races to win the 44th Championship of Champions regatta, a US Sailing Championship event.
Posted on 22 Oct
Attrition and drama rates climb in the 2018 GGR
Attrition rate of 55% is evidence that Mother Nature is in charge While some sailors scoffed at a 'retro race', the 2018 Golden Globe Race's attrition rate of 55% is evidence aplenty that, while modern sailors are clever, the challenges put forth by Mother Nature remain utterly unconvinced of mankind's superiority.
Posted on 22 Oct
2018-19 Melges 20 Miami Winter Series
One epic venue, four incredible events Since 2009, the Melges 20 Miami Winter Series has become one of North America's most popular one-design racing series. Hosted by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, each event boasts a deep fleet of Corinthian and professional teams
Posted on 22 Oct
50th Rolex Middle Sea Race day 3
The Game is On The third day of the 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race has seen the course open up. All yachts, still racing, have passed Stromboli and the majority are heading into a steady westerly on the leg from the volcanic island to the north-west corner of Sicily.
Posted on 22 Oct
A Class Worlds at Hervey Bay preview
Graced by more sailing glitterati than we have seen in many years As the season in Europe slowly draws to a close on what has been for some, another rather frustrating year of too much/too little wind and with most European class associations are looking towards their final regattas of the year
Posted on 22 Oct