Xu entering Incheon as gold medal favourite

At the age of just 21, China’s Qing Xu is already one of the most successful swimmers heading to the 2014 Asian Para Games searching for gold. 11 Sep 2014
A picture of a man in the pool holding his head above the water

Qing Xu competes in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley - SM6 Heat in London 2012

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By By Ryan Hills | For the IPC

“This games I just want to break through, and I just hope that I can make it a good tournament.”

For most athletes, three world records would signal the pinnacle of performance. Add to that seven Paralympic gold medals and you have what looks like a long, successful career. But for 21 year old Chinese swimmer Qing Xu, it is only just taking off.

Xu is one of Asia’s most promising young swimmers. With seven gold medals in his two previous Paralympic games, and world records in the 50m freestyle, butterfly and the 200m individual medley SM6, he is rightly one of swimming’s hottest names.

With this year’s Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, on the horizon, Xu is looking to the future.

“My world records are all in the past” he admitted. “This games I just want to break through, and I just hope that I can make it a good tournament.”

Xu, who is renowned in swimming for his success across a range of events, is no stranger to prestigious tournaments. He made his debut on the world stage at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. And from then on he has not looked back, amassing a host of successes and leaving competitors in his wake. But he is not the only thing to have flourished in those ten years.

“This is of course just the second official Asian Para Games. The first in Guangzhou, China, showed the investment of the government and it got the people’s attention. It was a successful start, and I think they will keep getting more fantastic!” Xu said.

Follow the Asian Para Games on Twitter via @Paralympic

Guangzhou 2010 turned everyday athletes into overnight national heroes. China unsurprisingly topped the medals table, and look set to do so again this time around. A lesser athlete might not take the competition seriously given the chance of success, but not Xu.

“All of the games come one by one, whether it be the Paralympics, World Championships or the APG’s [Asian Para Games]. They are all important to athletes and you can’t treat them differently. If you are lucky enough to have the chance to compete at these games, you should treat them as one, with all of your heart.”

Xu, whose noticeable shark tattoo catches the eye every time he takes to the pool, is one of many world class Chinese swimmers. With fellow competitor Tao Zheng one of his most renowned opponents, he must be at the top of his game to continue his success. But he is sure the country’s hopes do not rest solely on their shoulders.

“If I had to name one other athlete who I think will be successful, I’d say Yang Yang. But I wish everyone could get what they want in competition.”

The 2014 Asian Para-Games will feature more than 3,000 athletes competing in 23 sports from 18-24 October, ahead of the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, from 13-19 July.