Switzerland brings home gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Switzerland brings home gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Paralympians from Switzerland brought home 14 medals as Tokyo 2020 came to a close over the weekend, exceeding their previous tally of four from Rio in 2016.

Major athletics and cycling success for Switzerland

Swiss athletes were highly successful in their quest to secure paralympic glory, with the team securing seven gold medals, four silvers and three bronzes in Tokyo. Paralympics Switzerland smashed their previous record of four medals from the Rio games, claiming 19th place in the medal table.

The Swiss team had been preparing for the games for many months, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the delay of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The Paralympic committee said it had been concerned that not all of the Swiss athletes would make it to Tokyo, due to the fluctuating set of travel restrictions. Now, their efforts have been vindicated with the highest medal tally for Switzerland in the Paralympics since Athens in 2004.

“Silver bullet” Marcel Hug dominated track events

The Swiss team enjoyed success in swimming and road cycling, but it was in athletics that Team CH did the best. Marcel Hug had said before the games that a single medal was the goal, after two medals in London and four in Rio. The “Silver Bullet” from Thurgau was victorious in the 500, 1.500, 5.000 and marathon races in the T54 category, becoming one of the most successful wheelchair runner in Swiss Paralympic history.

In the women’s events, Manuela Schär from Lucerne picked up three silvers and two gold medals for the T54 events between 400metres and the marathon. The final gold medallist was Catherine Debrunner, who won a tightly contested 400-metre T53 race to claim gold. “I said to myself that I had to hold on to the end," said Debrunner, who beat Great Britain and China to her first Paralympic gold.

Six Swiss Paralympians won medals in Tokyo

The Swiss Paralympians who won medals in Tokyo are:

  • Marcel Hug (Gold T54 800m, 1.500m, 5.000m, marathon) 
  • Manuela Schär (Gold T54 400m, 800m, Silver 1.500m, 5.000m, marathon)
  • Catherine Debrunner (Gold T53 400m, Bronze 800m)
  • Elena Kratter (Bronze T63 long jump)
  • Nora Meister (Bronze S6 400m freestyle swimming)
  • Heinz Frei (Silver MH3 Street race)
Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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