Ningbo, one of China’s most dynamic coastal cities, is working on its vision to create the leading sailing destination in China. Lijia’s appointment is part of their goal to raise the profile of sailing and the region.
Friday 14.07.17 Marstrand Sweden
- Sailing team ChinaOne Ningbo appoint Xu Lijia as ambassador and training partner
- ChinaOne Ningbo have just won the 2017 Match Cup Sweden and are this week racing in the M32 World Championship
At London 2012, Chinese sailor Xu Lijia took home China’s second-ever Olympic gold medal in sailing and won the hearts of a nation after battling partial-deafness, partial-blindness and cancer.
This tactically elite sailor is in Marstrand, Sweden this week where it has been announced that she is to become the ambassador and training partner of the new ChinaOne Ningbo sailing team as they race in the M32 World Championship.
The ChinaOne Ningbo boat is being skippered by the current world champion, Phil Robertson.
The new partnership with the ChinaOne Ningbo sailing team is a clear demonstration of the commitment Ningbo, a vibrant coastal city near Shanghai, China, is making into the sport.
Whilst the country is producing exceptional sailors, sailing still has some way to go to becoming a recognised sporting activity in China.
Xu Lijia began sailing when she was ten and has been racing dinghies internationally since she was 11.
She says, “In China we have thousands of miles of coastline along which you will find busy trading ports and fishing fleets, but sailing is still in its infancy. When I was ten years old I moved from swimming to sailing. I didn’t even know what sailing was. Winning gold and becoming the flagbearer at the 2012 Olympics helped to raise the profile of sailing back home but we have a long way to go for it to be enjoyed the way it is in places such as Sweden.”
Xu Lijia has been racing single-handed, single-hulled dinghies for her entire career.
“Phil took me out on the ChinaOne Ningbo M32 catamaran today. This was my first time on an M32 and I absolutely loved it. Even when the winds were light, the boat carried so much speed. Sailing faster than the wind is an experience everyone should enjoy at some point in their life. I’m looking forward to benefiting from their skill and experience. I am dedicated to a life on the water and hope that in the future I will develop the skills necessary to lead my own M32 team, and win.”
Xu Lijia’s appointment as ChinaOne Ningbo’s ambassador and training partner is part of the aim to promote sailing in China, and in particular the profile of Ningbo as a leading destination for world-class sailing.
Philip Sohmen, Co-Chairman of ChinaOne Sailing says, “ChinaOne Ningbo’s vision is to create a team that is competitive at the highest levels internationally in order to promote sailing in Ningbo and China, and develop new talent. We are thrilled to have Lijia as ambassador for the team, bringing her together with some of the the world’s best multi-hull sailors from New Zealand and Australia in the World Match Racing Championship and M32 Series. Lijia is an extraordinary single-hull sailing talent and we are looking forward to working closely with her.”
Asked what she thinks of Marstrand, Lijia says, “This is certainly the best time of year to be here, with the long and sun-filled days. It’s a beautiful town and the people are very welcoming. We will do our best to offer everyone here the same open arms when they visit Ningbo.”