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Lijia Xu (CHN)

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Name Lijia Xu
Nation China
Date of Birth 30 August 1987
Place of Birth Shanghai
Class sailed Laser Radial
Website www. Click here for a Photo Gallery

Lijia Xu reigned supreme in the Laser Radial Medal Race at London 2012 to win 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.

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.

Acheivements between 31 September 2011 and 31 August 2012

Gold medal - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, Weymouth and Portland, GBR - August 2012
Silver medal - 2012 Laser Radial World Championship, Boltenhargen, GER - May 2012
3rd overall - 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup

4 - Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta, Weymouth & Portland, GBR - June 2012
1 - Semaine Olympique Française de Voile, Hyeres, FRA - April 2012
1 - US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA - January 2012
25 - Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, Perth, AUS - December 2011
1 - Sail Melbourne,Melbourne, AUS - November 2011


What inspired you to take up sailing?

I was introduced to sail an Optimist when I was a swimmer. Then I fell in love with this new sport as I find it far more interesting than swimming to and fro in a pool. Sailing gives me so much freedom and joy and the stage to chase my dreams.
What was the first boat you ever sailed and how old were you? An Optimist when I was 10 years old.

Name your first sailing club

Shanghai Water Sports Centre

What was the first event you competed in and in what year?

Optimist Nationals in 1998.

What are you personal sailing career highlights?

2001/2002 Optimist Women's World Champion
2002/2006 Asian Games Champion (Optimist & Laser Radial)
2006 Laser Radial Women's World Champion
2008 Olympic Games Bronze Medal (Laser Radial)
2012 Olympic Games Gold Medal (Laser Radial)

What are your future sailing goals?

To promote the sport in China and Asia, and to introduce sailing to more teenagers in school.

Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing and career and why?

My Optimist coach Zhang Jing and Laser Radial coach Liu Xiaoma. As a couple the two spend more time with me than my parents! They not only taught sailing but also guided me to realise my dream.

Who is your sailing hero?

Ben Ainslie.

What other sports do you enjoy?

Climbing, cycling and swimming.

What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you and how would you feel if you were voted the winner?

I feel very honourd to be one of the nominees. It will serve me to work harder in the future both in promoting the sport in China and my next Olympic campaign for Rio 2016. Whoever wins the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award in the end, I will congratulate her. There is so much I can learn from others and I want to make the most of it.
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