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Schmid talks of respect for Paralympic athletes

Embattled Defence and Sport Minister Samuel Schmid had a brief respite from controversy at home on Tuesday, when he attended the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

This content was published on September 9, 2008 - 15:49

"I came to honour the handicapped athletes," he told reporters during a news lunch in the Chinese capital on the final day of his three-day visit. "I am very impressed and full of respect."

The minister - under fire after the army head resigned over accusations of misconduct - called the opening ceremonies "truly fantastic". He watched tennis, track and field and archery events that included Swiss athletes Magali Comte and Philippe Horner.

During his visit, Schmid also met Chinese sport minister Liu Peng, as well as officials from Beijing Sport University, where two Swiss students will soon study. Schmid said he hopes to send more top-notch athletes to train in China.

On the military front, Schmid met Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, who was "particularly" interested in Swiss simulation exercises and how soldiers train.

Chinese media reported that the "Swiss armed forces would endeavour to strengthen ties with China" to promote peace and stability.

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