Chinese Paralympic swimming star Xu Qing has hinted that the Rio 2016 Games could be his last, after beginning his Paralympic all the way back in Athens in 2004 at just 11 years of age. Xu is a seven-time Paralympic champion, winning three golds in Beijing and four more in London. Competing in the S6 category, he won gold in the 50 free, 50 fly and 4×50 medley relay in Beijing, and defended his 50 free and 50 fly titles in London and added wins in the 100 free and 200 IM.
“Rio is possibly my last Paralympic Games. I will try my best,” he said. Just 23 years old, Xu is still “looking forward to taking part in Rio, and preparing for it every day”.
Xu produced four world records in London in his four wins, and all but the 100 freestyle still stand today. He’ll be looking to produce similar results in Rio. Xu also collected a pair of World Championship titles in the 50 freestyle in 2013 and 2015 despite admitting his training post London was less than ideal.
Xu lost both his arms in a car accident at age six and was introduced to swimming a year later, and the rest is history.
When asked about his main competitors, Xu refers to himself as his biggest obstacle: “I see myself as the biggest opponent … winning over myself will make it possible [to perform well],” he said.
Xu also acknowledges how fortunate he has been to represent his country in international competition when asked about all of his success: “I think luck played its role,” he said, adding: “I am honoured to represent my country. [Any] athlete who can represent his country is lucky.”
Moving forward Xu hopes to continue to inspire others to be apart of the Paralympic Movement and promote Para sport in general.
“‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated,’ it says in [the novel] The Old Man and The Sea,” Xu commented. “This can be used to explain Para sports. I hope to witness transcendence in Rio. I [would like] people to be influenced by Paralympic athletes, and live a more active and happier life.”
Find the full article on the Paralympic website here.