Ottobock workshops take on all equipment repairs as Games kick off in London
As the 2012 Paralympic Games kicked off in London this week, a team of 80 technicians began the gruelling task of carrying out equipment repairs for the 4,200 competitors.
The technical service team has been put together by mobility equipment manufacturer, Ottobock, and will repair and maintain all equipment used by the athletes from workshops in the Paralympic villages and at nine competition venues across the UK.
The service was set up over two days and includes 13 tonnes of equipment and 15,000 spare parts. It will be staffed by 80 prosthetists, orthotists and wheelchair technicians from around the world, including 12 welders responsible for repairing damage to wheelchair frames common in the hard-hitting wheelchair rugby and basketball competitions.
Like the services provided by mechanics in motor racing, the team will be responsible for the service and maintenance of equipment and getting athletes back into the competition as fast as possible following an equipment malfunction. The technicians will be on hand at the Velodrome, North Greenwich Arena, the basketball arena, Royal Artillery Barracks, Greenwich Park, the ExCeL centre, Eton Manor and Brands Hatch. There will also be a workshop in the Olympic Stadium where the team will service a diverse range of equipment including the high-tech chairs used in wheelchair racing and the running blades used by the world’s-fastest Paralympic sprinters. An additional mobile workshop will support the marathon and hand cycling road race.
Repairs will range from simple tyre punctures to complex prosthetic knee repairs.
On the first day alone, the team carried out 103 repairs for competitors from 52 countries in sports including boccia, racing, fencing, rugby and wheelchair basketball. The repairs included puncture repairs and wheel castor alignment.
“Ottobock is very proud of its history as technical service provider for the Paralympic Games,” said Professor Hans Georg Nader, the company’s president and chief executive. “We have been a partner since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games and London 2012 will be the 12th event where we have had the honour of supporting all competing Paralympians and providing them with the confidence that their technical needs will be understood and expertly repaired so that they can concentrate on performance and competition.”
Ken Hurst, technical director for London 2012, added: “Our 80-strong team is ready for what will no doubt be a busy, but very rewarding experience. The athleticism of Paralympic athletes puts great pressure on the equipment they use to compete. As a result we expecting them to come to us with a wide range of requirements and we are prepared to deal with them with the speed and best quality service
For more on the technical services provided at the Games, click here