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Frei wins first Paralympic gold for Switzerland

Heinz Frei has won Switzerland's first gold medal at the Paralympics in Beijing, taking victory in the 12.7 km-long hand-bike time trial.

Fifty-year-old Frei, who hails from canton Solothurn and carried the Swiss flag at the opening ceremony, beat Vittorio Podesta of Italy by six seconds on the triathlon course used for the summer Olympics.

His winning time was 22 minutes 6.23 seconds. It takes Frei’s tally of gold medals at Paralympic Games to 13.

It’s Switzerland’s fourth medal at the Games. Quadriplegic athlete Beat Bösch took silver in the 200m-wheelchair race, Pia Schmid won bronze in the corresponding women’s event and Urs Kolly captured bronze in the Pentathlon event.

Switzerland is aiming for at least 11 medals from its 26 athletes competing in Beijing. The Games, which began on September 6, will end on September 17.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR