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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Marcel Hug of Switzerland competes in the Men's 5000m T54 final at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Marcel Hug

Athletics
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Hug is the latest Swiss wheelchair racing talent following in the tracks of all-time greats Franz Nietlispach and Heinz Frei.

The ‘Swiss Silver Bullet’ has been in terrific form in the last two seasons: he won his first Paralympic gold at the Rio Games (he went on to win a second); he raced away with the Abbott World Marathon Majors title for 2016/2017 and he secured three world gold medals at London 2017 where he dominated the men’s T54 distance events.

Hug’s victories in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m T54 in the London Stadium rounded off a highly successful 2017 track season that also included a new 10,000m T54 world record (19:45.05) in Arbon, Switzerland in May.

Out on the roads, the Swiss racer has also been a force to be reckoned with.

In 2016 he won no fewer than six major marathons including the Paralympic title at Rio 2016, while in 2017 he won in Boston (USA), Berlin (Germany), Chicago (USA) and New York (USA).

His first Paralympic Games were in Athens in 2004 when, aged just 18-years-old, he won 800m and 1,500m T54 bronze. He also made the finals of the 400m and 1,500m T54.

Two years later he struck 10,000m T54 gold at the World Championships in the Netherlands, adding 400m, 800m and 5,000m silver to his tally.

By his own admission Beijing 2008 was a disappointing experience. His best finish was fourth place in the 5,000m. But Hug bounced back in emphatic style in 2010 smashing four world records in four days at a meeting in Nottwil, Switzerland, that summer.

He was the man to beat going into the 2011 World Championships in New Zealand, an event which would see him compete in all track events from the 400m through to the 10,000m.

Unfortunately for Hug, he came up against Great Britain’s David Weir, a man spurred on by losing his world records the previous year.

Weir put on a tactical master class in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m T54 to take gold ahead of Hug, who only managed one gold - in the 10,000m, a race that did not feature his great rival.

Hug found himself losing out on gold at the London 2012 Games too, where Weir dominated the field winning four gold medals. The Swiss racer clinched 800m and marathon silvers.

Victory in the 400m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon T54 at the 2013 World Championships – in the absence of Weir - meant Hug quickly became the man to beat, and he cemented that position with further glory at the 2014 European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, winning a hat trick of gold medals.

Competition at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, was tough however and Hug found himself outraced by the likes of Thailand’s Rawat Tana, who took world gold in the 1,500m and 5,000m. Hug had to make do with one bronze (800m T54) and one silver medal (5,000m T54).

Earlier in the year he had been forced to withdraw from the defence of his world marathon title after suffering a puncture during the London Marathon – world gold in 2015 was not to be.

In Rio, Hug did not get off to the best start. Silver medal finishes in the 1,500m and 5,000m made it look as if Paralympic gold would elude him again.

By the time he lined up in the 800m final it was his 19th attempt at wining Paralympic gold. He left nothing to chance, leading the field throughout, and as he crossed the line in first he showed a rare emotional side as he punched the air and screamed in delight. He clinched his second Paralympic title on the final day of competition winning marathon T54 gold.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T54

Further personal information

Residence
Nottwil, SUI
Occupation
Athlete, Coach
Languages
English, German

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He entered his first race at age 10.
Why this sport?
He was inspired by Swiss Para athlete Franz Nietlispach, who he met as a child. His sports teacher then gave him an old racing wheelchair to try the sport.
Club / Team
RC Zentralschweiz: Switzerland
Name of coach
Paul Odermatt [personal], SUI, from 1996
Training Regime
He trains six days a week and two to three sessions of 90 minutes daily. That's a total of 25 to 30 hours per week. It is divided in strength sessions and track / street training.

General interest

Nicknames
The Silver Bullet, Huggy Bear (paralympic.org, 21 Apr 2013; paralympic.org, 28 Feb 2013)
Hobbies
Sport, listening to music, computers. (marcelhug.com, 01 Aug 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold medals in the T54 800m and T54 marathon at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (paralympic.org, 04 Dec 2018)
Most influential person in career
Coach Paul Odermatt. (paralympic.org, 04 Dec 2018)
Hero / Idol
South African politician Nelson Mandela, US musician Michael Jackson, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer; Swiss Para athlete Franz Nietlispach. (paralympic.org, 06 Apr 2015; laureus.com, 01 Feb 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I want to be respected as an athlete and not admired as a person with an impairment." (marcelhug.com, 01 Aug 2018)
Awards and honours
He received the 2017 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award. (paralympic.org, 28 Feb 2018)

He was named Sportsman of the year of the Canton of Lucerne in 2013 and 2017. (igsportluzern.ch, 23 Feb 2018)

He was named the 2017 Para Sportsperson of the Year at the Credit Suisse Sports Awards in Zurich, Switzerland. He also won the award in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. (tagblatt.ch, 13 Dec 2015; 10 Dec 2017; credit-suisse.com, 19 Dec 2016)

He was named Thurgau Sportsman of the Year for three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006. (Facebook page, 30 Jul 2014)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (fokus.swiss, 08 Jun 2019)
Impairment
He was born with spina bifida. (Jahns rollende Welt YouTube channel, 20 Aug 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Marathon T54 Final Round 9999
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 1 2
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 2 4
Men's 5000 m T54 Final Round 4
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 2 1
Men's 1500 m T54 Final Round 9999
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 2 1
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 1 1
Men's 800 m T54 Final Round 5
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 1 5
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 3 2
Men's 400 m T54 Final Round 5
IPC Athletics World Championships Assen 2006 (Assen, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Marathon T54 Final Round 4
Men's 4x400 m T53-54 Heat 2 2
Men's 4x100 m T53-54 Heat 1 2
Men's 10000 m T54 Final Round 1
Men's 10000 m T54 Heat 1 1
Men's 5000 m T54 Final Round 2
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 1 2
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 2 4
Men's 1500 m T54 Final Round 8
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 3 2
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 4 3
Men's 800 m T54 Final Round 2
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 2 1
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 1 1
Men's 400 m T54 Final Round 2
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 2 1
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 3 2
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (Athens, Greece)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 800 m T54 Final Round 3
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 1 2
Men's 400 m T54 Final Round 8
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 3 2
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 3 2
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 2 3
Men's 1500 m T54 Final Round 3
Men's 4x400 m T53-54 Heat 3 2
Men's 4x100 m T53-54 Heat 1 2
Men's 5000 m T54 Final Round 6
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 2 4
IPC Athletics World Championships Villeneuve d'Ascq 2002 (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 4x100 m T53-54 Final Round 4
Men's 4x100 m T53-54 Heat 1 2
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 3 8
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 1 5
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 1 7
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 1 2011-01-22 2
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 4 2011-01-22 9999
Men's 10000 m T53/54 Final 2011-01-22 1
Men's 800 m T54 Final 2011-01-23 2
Men's 5000 m T53/54 Heat 1 2011-01-24 1
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 1 2011-01-24 9999
Men's 1500 m T53/54 Heat 1 2011-01-25 1
Men's 1500 m T53/54 Final 2011-01-26 2
Men's 400 m T54 Semifinal 2 2011-01-27 1
Men's 5000 m T53/54 Final 2011-01-27 2
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 3 2011-01-27 1
Men's 400 m T54 Final 2011-01-28 2
Men's Marathon T53/54 Final 2011-01-30 9999
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 2 2012-08-31 1
Men's 5000 m T54 Final Round 2012-09-02 4
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 1 2012-09-03 1
Men's 1500 m T54 Final Round 2012-09-04 4
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 2 2012-09-05 2
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 3 2012-09-05 2
Men's 800 m T54 Final Round 2012-09-06 2
Men's 400 m T54 Final Round 2012-09-07 5
Men's Marathon T54 Final Round 2012-09-09 2
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 10000 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-20 1
Men's 400 m T54 Semifinal 2 2013-07-21 1
Men's 400 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-21 1
Men's 800 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-22 2
Men's 800 m T54 Semifinal 1 2013-07-22 2
Men's 5000 m T54 Semifinal 1 2013-07-23 1
Men's 5000 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-24 1
Men's 1500 m T54 Semifinal 2 2013-07-25 1
Men's 1500 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-26 1
Men's Marathon T54 Final 1 2013-07-28 1
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 2 2015-10-23 3
Men's 1500 m T54 Final 1 2015-10-24 5
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 3 2015-10-25 2
Men's 5000 m T54 Final 1 2015-10-26 2
Men's 400 m T54 Final 1 2015-10-27 4
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 1 2015-10-27 8
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 3 2015-10-28 1
Men's 800 m T54 Semifinal 2 2015-10-29 1
Men's 800 m T54 Final 1 2015-10-29 3
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 1 2016-09-09 1
Men's 5000 m T54 Final Round 2016-09-11 2
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 3 2016-09-12 2
Men's 1500 m T54 Final Round 2016-09-13 2
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 2 2016-09-14 1
Men's 800 m T54 Final Round 2016-09-15 1
Men's Marathon T54 Final Round 2016-09-18 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T54 Heat 3 2017-07-16 3
Men's 1500 m T54 Final 1 2017-07-16 1
Men's 800 m T54 Heat 2 2017-07-17 6
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 1 2017-07-19 3
Men's 400 m T54 Final 1 2017-07-20 4
Men's 800 m T54 Final 1 2017-07-21 1
Men's 5000 m T54 Heat 1 2017-07-22 1
Men's 5000 m T54 Final 1 2017-07-23 1