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Meeting in Qingdao, sailing with passion

December 15 , 2014 -- Updated 7:12 GMT

 ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao 2014 builds city’s global ocean sport brand

ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao 2014, one of the world's most influential Olympic-class sailing events, was held in the beautiful coastal city of Qingdao from October 12 to 18. Since its successful hosting of the sailing portion of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Qingdao has developed into China's sailing capital, allowing its Olympic legacy to flourish in new ways.


Competition scene. Photo: Ran Daxian

Sailing shines in Qingdao

This year's Qingdao Sailing World Cup, attended by top officials and elite athletes, brought exciting matches to sailing lovers and presented a modern and beautiful city to the world. Luan Xin, vice mayor of Qingdao, Li Quanhai, vice president of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and vice president of the Chinese Yachting Association (CYA), and Gary Jobson, vice president of the ISAF attended the opening ceremony on October 13.

A total 221 athletes, coaches and officials from the UK, Australia, Spain, China and other countries joined the competition, experiencing a wonderful time in Qingdao.

After five days' competition, Byron Kokkalanis from Greece won gold in the Men's Windsurfing RS:X in a pitched battle for first, while Sun Jiali from China won the Women's Windsurfer RS:X event. In the Laser and Laser Radial medal race, Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia beat Pavlos Kontides from Cyprus, and Zhang Dongshuang of China defended her title against a pack of hard-charging challengers in the Laser Radial race.

In the Men's and Women's 470 Medal Race, Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp from Spain picked up their first ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal, while Chinese sailors Wei Mengxi and Xu Yani picked up a comfortable victory.

Skill and good sportsmanship were on abundant display during the five-day competition. The competitors made great improvements and achieved their goal of common progress.

As an Olympic-class sailing event with global influence, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao 2014 highlighted fair competition and showed off Qingdao's charm as a city. Sailors from all over the world displayed their superb skills and good sportsmanship. As the only Sailing World Cup venue in Asia, Qingdao had the opportunity to show off its image of an open, modern, vibrant "Sailing City."





Competition scene. Photo: Niu Xiqiang

Comprehensive services ensure smooth sailing

Qingdao obtained significant experience hosting international competitions from the Olympic sailing event. All the details of professional support services, volunteer services and medical aid were all handled with aplomb by the organizing committee.

The ISAF, the Water Sports Management Center of the General Administration of Sport of China and the Chinese Yachting Association have provided tremendous support and guidance for the development of sailing sports in Qingdao.

With the help of the Qingdao government, 46 volunteers from Qingdao University and 90 professional sailing support volunteers participated in the event, providing 18,000 hours service, ensuring the success of the event. A special first aid team and dedicated treatment areas were set up at the city hospital, guaranteeing timely, first-class treatment for injuries during the event. The police department also strengthened patrols to ensure the security of all athletes and officials.

The organizing committee reused three racing areas from the Olympic sailing competition, intelligently laid out competition and anchoring areas, as well as building 12 facilities with 1,500 square meters of total space to meet the needs of the event. The Water Sports Management Center provided more than 60 boats and over 170 pieces of equipment for the racing to ensure that the competition ran smoothly in all aspects. Customs staff was also on hand to help competition equipment and other goods pass through customs clearance. The local weather bureau provided accurate weather reports for each day of racing, crucial for sailing competitions.

Liu Yu, director of the Qingdao Administration Center of Sailing Sport, praised the work of organizing committee and noted that the success of the event not only fully demonstrated Qingdao's unique advantages in sailing professionals and infrastructure, but also displayed its professionalism and excellent service for the organization of international sailing events.

Carrying on the Olympic spirit

In the summer of 2008, when the five-ring Olympic flag flew over Qingdao, a splendid new chapter was written in the history of Olympic sailing sport, making plain to the world the excitement and passion of sailing. The century-old Olympics joined hands with the century-old city of Qingdao, injecting new vitality into the beautiful port city and starting this popular tourist destination on its journey towards becoming the "sailing capital" of China.

While boasting one of the world's most beautiful bays and first-class sailing centers, the city has attracted a number of youngsters who love sailing and 8 million hospitable citizens. Modern sailing, as a popular sport among coastal countries and regions, is an important way for different people to learn about and share sailing culture.

In the post-Olympic era, by making full use of its unique advantages in human resources and infrastructure, Qingdao has successfully hosted a series of major international sailing events, including the Sailing World Cup circuit. Qingdao was chosen from among numerous competitors as the circuit's premier venue in Asia, a symbol of Qingdao's recognition by the international sailing community, as well as the city's enormous contributions to the development of international sailing sports.

Sailing events are an important link for promoting the development of sport and cultural exchanges between Qingdao and the international community. With its ever-increasing brand influence as a "Sailing City", Qingdao has built a win-win platform for exchanging and developing sailing sports in China, Asia and the world.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao 2014 will serve as a window for promoting sailing sport exchanges between Qingdao and the world, and a bridge bringing sailing lovers even closer, helping to build cooperation around the world.

Looking forward to sailing's future

Moving forward, Qingdao has plans in place to further develop sailing within the city. With world class facilities it will no doubt continue to attract large-scale events that will in turn reinforce this futuristic city's rise. The city showed the world the momentum of its development as a "Blue Economic Zone", setting a good example for Chinese and Asian sailing development.

The Qingdao government has put forth significant effort to build an independent, outstanding sailing brand by hosting numerous high-level sailing competitions. The Beijing 2008 Olympic legacy lives on at the Olympic Sailing Competition venue. The ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao is just one of many events that see the eyes of the sailing world shift to China. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Qingdao International Sailing Week, Qingdao International Marine Festival, the Extreme Sailing Series and the Volvo Ocean Race have all passed through the venue, highlighting the sport to the local community and to China as a whole.

Continuing to develop sailing in Qingdao, and popularizing the sport among the public, especially among the young, will require further effort. The Qingdao government saw clearly the great potential for training young sailors in the city and put forth a number of plans to develop sailing in the city. In 2006, 1,050 boats were purchased by the government specifically to support a "Sailing into Campus" program in primary and high schools. 93 sailing schools were renamed as special training centers in 2011, and textbooks on sailing were introduced into PE classes in 1,080 schools. The Olympic Sailing Center has developed into a learning, teaching and training base for promoting sailing. Qingdao is also in the midst of a "Welcome on board" program to popularize sailing that as of 2013 had enrolled 250,000 citizens, with that number continuing to increase.

The Qingdao government has taken a big step forward by combining sports and tourism. By hosting hundreds of games and expos, the sailing industry in Qingdao has gradually taken shape, attracting orders and investments from many manufacturers. Builder Mazarin Qingdao Shipyard built 12 racing boats, worth 120 million yuan($19.62 million), for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Qingdao-based Zou Inter Marine sells its sailing boats to Europe and was the boat provider for the Sailing World Cup Qingdao and the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing 2014. This solid foundation of boat manufacturing and solid promotion of sailing sports to the public have successfully helped to brand Qingdao as a "Sailing City," creating a bright future for sailing industry in the city.

The successful staging of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao 2014 has helped promote the all-around development of Qingdao's sailing and cultural tourism industries, further enhancing the city's brand influence and international reputation, said Zang Aimin, chairman of the Qingdao Yachting Association.

Qingdao welcomes people from around the world to come share the passion and charm of sailing, feel the hospitality of its citizens, and experience the openness and vitality of this oriental city.