Paralympic Games
7-18 September

China’s Xu hints at retirement after Rio 2016

The seven-time Paralympic swimming champion said that he is considering hanging up his googles after the Paralympic Games. 07 Jun 2016
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Qing Xu celebrating his win in the pool.

China's Qing Xu in at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics

ⒸGetty Images
By By Becki Ellsmore | For the IPC

"Rio is possibly my last Paralympic Games. I will try my best."

China’s seven-time Paralympic champion Qing Xu has hinted that he is considering retirement after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Xu is entering the final stages of preparation for Rio 2016 where he will defend four titles, and indicated that he may take a step back from swimming after his fourth Games.

"Rio is possibly my last Paralympic Games. I will try my best," he said.

However the 23-year-old is still “looking forward to taking part in Rio, and preparing for it every day” with an intense schedule that can comprise up to a dozen training sessions per week.

Xu met with success at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, winning medals across the 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly S6 and 200m individual medley SM6 with world-record-breaking performances, and will be looking to produce similar results in Rio.

Despite also believing that his training after the 2012 Paralympic Games was less than ideal, Xu still managed to collect 50m freestyle S6 world titles in 2013 and 2015.

When asked about his main rivals, he is unconcerned with his fellow swimmers, citing himself as the biggest challenge.

“I see myself as the biggest opponent … winning over myself will make it possible [to perform well],” he said.

Despite his formidable international reputation, winning medals at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games, World Championships, and two Paralympic Games over the past decade, Xu insists that his results are influenced by other factors.

“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.”

Having made his Paralympic debut in Athens in 2004 at the tender age of 11, as the youngest competitor in the event, he went on to make his mark at his home Paralympic Games at Beijing 2008 by winning three gold and a bronze medal whilst still a teenager.

In Rio and beyond, he hopes that he will be able to inspire others to get involved with the Paralympic Movement, and with 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.”

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