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E-sailing can help conquer high seas, says Olympic champ

China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-16 09:04
Xu Lijia competes in the women's Laser Radial class on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Marina da Gloria in Brazil on Aug 13, 2016. [Photo/VCG]

LONDON-Chinese Olympic gold medalist Xu Lijia says e-sailing can sharpen decision-making on the water and open up the sport to a new audience as gamers battle it out to be the first world champion.

Virtual Regatta's free Inshore game offers millions of armchair sailors the opportunity to pit their wits against the forces of nature-all without the need to get wet.

The inaugural e-sailing World Championship, which comprises a series of weekly challenges and playoffs, with the boat types and venues changing on a regular basis, runs from May until October.

The September playoffs, involving 1,000 competitors, will be an online regatta and will last up to 14 days.

The top four from both the men's and women's rankings after the playoffs will qualify for the e-sailing World Championship Final in Florida.

Xu, who won gold at London 2012 in sailing's laser radial class, has no doubt the online game can help professionals hone their skills.

"Because it is so fast-changing it can help us become faster in reactions and decision-making and we can apply that on the water," Xu said at last week's World Championship launch in London.

"We have to react quickly, otherwise we get left far behind."

Xu, an Olympic bronze medalist on home waters in 2008, is also confident the game can open up sailing to a whole new audience.

"I think almost all kids in China are brought up with technology," said the 30-yearold.

"But I hope they can still go out and enjoy the real sport, see the sun shine, experience the fresh air and the water. It might inspire them to try the real thing."

World Sailing president Kim Andersen said e-sailing could inspire millions more to engage with the sport.

"Aimed at everyone from expert sailors to sports gamers, the e-sailing World Championship will enable sailors on shore and fans without access to sailing equipment or facilities to become engaged and inspired by the excitement of sailing," he said.

The game's creator, Philippe Guigne, said thousands of people had discovered sailing through the game and had gone on to try it for real.


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