As the 2016 Paralympic Summer Games kick off in Rio de Janeiro, the Swiss delegation says it is hoping to win at least ten medals.
The Swiss team is comprised of 24 athletes specialising in seven sports. Altogether, some 4,350 athletes from more than 170 nations are competing in 22 disciplines.
In 2012’s London games, Switzerland won 13 medals – including three gold – with four scored by wheelchair racer Edith Hunkeler. In the meantime, Hunkeler has retired. Now the top Swiss medal hopefuls are Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär, both competing in various wheelchair races.
Switzerland has been sending athletes to the Paralympics since 1960. National organising committee Swiss Paralympic was founded in 1989, and it shares the same Bern headquarters as Swiss Olympic. The cost of sending the 24 Paralympic athletes and their 20+ carers to Brazil is about CHF440,000 ($454,3000) – mainly covered by Swiss Olympic.
There had been a proposal for canton Graubünden to host the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, but citzens voted against it. The Paralympic Summer Games run through September 18.
swissinfo.ch and agencies