Yesterday, Switzerland formally announced the team it intends to take to the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships taking place in Swansea, England next month. The team includes T52 Beat Bösch, T13 Philip Handler, T54 Alexandra Helbling, T54 Marcel Hug, T54 Patricia Keller, T54 Tobias Lötscher, T34 Bojan Mitic, T54 Manuela Schaer, and F44 Patrick Stoll.
Manuela Schaer will be competing in the 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m events. She is the reigning world champion in the women’s T54 marathon. She is considered a favorite in most of her events, because her main rival, the United States’s Tatyana McFadden, will not be competing against her.
Marcel Hug, nicknamed the The Silver Bullet,will be competing in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m T54 events, and is currently the world reigning champion in all five events. He excels at longer distances, having won the men’s wheelchair group at the 2011 and 2012 Berlin Marathon, 2013 New York City Marathon and the 2014 London Marathon. At the most recent Paralympics, he picked up a pair of silver medals, one in the men’s marathon and the other in the 800 meters. This added to the pair of bronze medals he won at the 2004 Paralympics in the 800m and 1500m events.
Beat Bösch will be competing in the T52 100m and 400m, but not the 200m. He won a bronze at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in 200m and a silver at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in the event. He is a Paralympic medalist in the 100 meters, winning silver at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Paralympics. While competing at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, he did not medal but the possibility exists that a strong performance at this competition could see him on the podium.
Alexandra Helbling will be competing in the 100m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m T54 events. At the 2012 European championships, she won a silver in the 800m event. She represented Switzerland at the London Paralympics in three events, but did not qualify out of any of her heats.
Patricia Keller will be competing in the 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m T54. At the 2012 European championships, she won a gold in the 800m event. While she competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, her best performance in three events was tenth. At the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, she finished seventh in the 5,000m.
Philip Handler will be competing in the 100m and 200m T13 events. Tobias Lötscher is scheduled to compete in the 1,500m and 5,000m T54 races. Bojan Mitic will be competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m T34 events. Patrick Stoll will be participating in the F44 Javelin.
Switzerland’s 2012 athletics Paralympic medalists Edith Wolf and Sandra Graf are not competing at this competition.