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Paralympic glory as Swiss win 16 medals

Record-breaker Urs Koller (Roland Keller)

Switzerland’s athletes have bettered their target for the Paralympics by winning 16 medals at the Athens Games, which drew to a close on Wednesday.

Honours went to Fribourg’s Urs Koller who grabbed gold in two disciplines – the long jump and the pentathlon, in which he set a world record.

The 12th Paralympic Games, which were overshadowed by the deaths of seven schoolchildren in a bus crash, were dominated by the Chinese who won 141 medals including 63 golds.

But there was also plenty for the 40-strong Swiss team to celebrate after they exceeded their medal expectations by one. Their haul consisted of two gold, six silver and eight bronze medals.

The total fell short of Atlanta in 1996 (20 medals – nine gold, six silver and five bronze), but improved on the Sydney Games of four years ago (ten medals – four gold, two silver and four bronze).

“We’re very happy with the results and the running of the competitions,” said Hugo Wölfli, president of the Swiss Paralympic Committee.

“Especially since the Swiss team included several young people who won medals and will be contenders for many years to come.”

Manuela Schär, 20, and Marcel Hug, 18, each came home with two medals, and Sara Tretola, 20, won one.

King Kolly

Impressive performances from Urs Kolly, who lost his right leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident, made up for the absence of the Swiss team’s leading athletes, Ursina Greuter and Lukas Christen.

Kolly reigned supreme in Athens, adding to his five Paralympic titles from previous Games.

The Fribourg athlete set a new world record in the pentathlon with 4,447 points, and set new Swiss records in the shot putt, 100m and 400m pentathlon events.

Kolly also won a gold medal in the long jump, with a leap of 6.68m – a new European record.

swissinfo, Mathias Froidevaux

Key facts

The Swiss sent 40 athletes (13 women and 27 men)
They won 16 medals (2 gold, 6 silver, 8 bronze)
Switzerland finished 40th in the medals table.

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In brief

Swiss medal-winners:

Marcel Hug – bronze, 1,500m hand-bike; bronze, 800m wheelchair.

Manuela Schär – silver, 200m wheelchair; bronze, 100m sprint.

Edith Hunkeler – two silvers, 1,500m and 5,000m wheelchair.

Urs Kolly – two golds, pentathlon and long jump.

Karin Suter and Sandra Erath – bronze, tennis doubles.

Pia Schmid – silver, 200m wheelchair.

Franz Weber – silver, 25km hand-bike; bronze, hand-bike time-trial.

Sara Tretola – bronze, hand-bike time-trial.

Beat Boesch – silver, 100m wheelchair; bronze, 200m wheelchair.

Frank Nietlispach – bronze, hand-bike time-trial.

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