'It's like a co-ordinator between BOCOG
[the Beijing Organizing Committee], between the Sailing Sub-Committee and also between ISAF. I am the contact window to ISAF,' explains QU.
Although sailing is still a relatively new and (rapidly) developing sport in China, QU's involvement with the sport goes back a long way. He first started sailing aged 16 when he was living with members of the provincial sailing club and his interest and involvement in the sport has blossomed. In 1993 he began working with the Chinese Olympic Sailing Team as an assistant windsurfing coach and worked his way through the ranks to become Team Manager of the Chinese Olympic Team in 1997. During this time he also became involved in race management and since the mid 1990s has been the Principle Race Officer for all the major regattas hosted in Qingdao.
QU has been involved with Olympic Sailing in Qingdao at almost every stage of the process. After the Sydney Games he acted as an advisor to the Qingdao City Government as they prepared for the visit of the ISAF Evaluation Group. His knowledge of the sport proved a vital asset and he continued to work with the city government. In 2004 he attended the Athens Games as an observation delegate, gaining first-hand experience of intricacies and organization required to host the Olympic Sailing Competition. Following approval from ISAF, he was appointed Competition Manager in April 2005.
In this role QU has to call on all of his experience to link together all the different aspects of the regatta.
'I'm the person who asks for the recommendation and the instruction from ISAF as to how we could improve race management, what we should do for the staffing and equipment, and the policy of the race management,'
he says. 'I give the feedback to BOCOG to prepare the staff and the equipment, and the training of the National Technical Officials.'
A key part of QU's role is to ensure all the different organizations involved in the Games are working together. With different time zones, working cultures, hierarchies and outside pressures to deal with, it's a job that requires a certain degree of flexibility.
'I think you need to be open-minded and have a wide view of things. Not just be focussed on one issue and be able to find compromises,'
QU stresses the importance of communication and keeping the different organizations informed and in touch with one another. With sailing just one of two sports taking place entirely outside of Beijing, he sends weekly, half-monthly and monthly reports to BOCOG to ensure they are never out of touch with what is happening in Qingdao.
QU has perhaps been better placed than anyone to see the rapid grow of the venue and the impact it has had on Qingdao as a sailing city.
'Two years ago there was nothing here,'he explains, pointing towards the boat park through his office window. 'In only two years you can see the change. We have offshore boats, a 1,000 Optimists, Lasers, 470s…'
But for now his focus is firmly on the here-and-now and the completion of the 2007 test event. For the organizing committee this has been a very thorough examination of all the systems in place to host the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. 'Compared to 2006, we have more people, one more race area, we have more boats, more equipment, so it's increased the difficulty for the management,' said QU.
With the test event reaching its conclusion, following the closing ceremony focus will switch towards analysing every aspect of the event. Working to find solutions to any problems and then fully focussing on the preparations for 2008. All through this process QU will continue to play a pivotal role, helping to bring together all the elements, organizations, procedures and people that will determine the success of the 11 sailing events at the 2008 Olympic Games.says QU.