A strong Swiss contingent, including four Olympic finalists, is competing at the world student games, which have just got underway in Beijing.This content was published on August 22, 2001 - 07:50
Olympic silver medallist Diana Romagnoli heads up the Swiss delegation along with fellow fencer Marcel Fischer, 1,500 metres runner Sabine Fischer and swimmer Remo Lütolf.
Romagnoli, who was part of the successful women's épée team in Sydney, will be partnered in Beijing by World Cup bronze medal winner Isabelle Tarchini and Olympic modern pentathlete Florence Dinichert.
The Swiss swimming team is also particularly strong. As well as Lütolf, who finished eighth in the 100 metres breaststroke in Sydney, Switzerland will be represented by five members of its world championships squad.
Wednesday's opening ceremony marked the official start of the student games, which are open to any athlete enrolled in tertiary education.
The Beijing edition is the largest yet with more than 8,000 athletes, officials and media taking part from 166 nations and regions.
The tournament's organisers are hoping to use the games to demonstrate Beijing's suitability for major sporting events. Last month the Chinese capital was chosen as the site for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
"This is the first world-scale games ever held in China," a spokesman for the student games said on Tuesday. "It will enable us to show the world our ability to host the Olympics."
While the world student games will not attract the mass media attention of the Olympics, the athletes will be keen to prove themselves at an event which has previously acted as a springboard to successful sporting careers.
At the 1999 student games in Majorca, Switzerland won three medals, among them a silver for Lucerne runner André Bucher, who last week became the new world champion in the 800 metres.
swissinfo with agencies
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