Christoph Kunz has won Switzerland’s first medal of the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, taking silver in the sitting giant slalom.
The 28-year-old seven-time Swiss champion took second place in a race hindered by heavy rain and fog in Whistler on Tuesday.
Kunz was leading in the first run but ceded in the second run to Germany’s Martin Braxenthaler, who also took gold in the slalom two days earlier. Kunz finished three seconds behind Braxenthaler’s time of 2:37.40.
It is Kunz’s first Paralympic medal. He is also among the favourites in the upcoming downhill and super-G.
Nadja Baumgartner placed third in the first run of the women’s giant slalom but failed to make the podium in the second run.
Following the end of the Second World War, there was a systematic development of ski sport for people with a disability as injured ex-servicemen returned to the sport they loved.
Until the 1970s, races were limited to skiers who could stand or had a visual impairment. The invention of the mono-ski – a seat fixed on single ski – opened the sport to athletes who could not stand. Mono-skis are equipped with short outriggers: forearm crutches with shortened skis attached at the base for balance and steering.
swissinfo.ch and agencies