103 Paralympians from 52 of the competing countries visited one of the Ottobock workshops to have their equipment repaired by the technical service team. Jobs carried out by the team of experts included repairs such as welding, punctures, wheel castor alignment and leather repairs for a wide variety of wheelchairs. A number of athletes, including members of the Chinese boccia team were already waiting for repairs upon the workshops opening. As a sport that requires precise movement, Ottobocks team of expert wheelchair technicians were able to carefully repair the user controls to ensure equipment responds exactly as they direct it to.
Ottobock is supporting all 4,200 competing athletes with a team of expert prosthetists, orthotists and wheelchair technicians, including 12 welders, who have all volunteered their services. The team of technicians come from 18 countries and speak 14 languages. With a variety of wheelchair sports such as basketball beginning on the first day of competition, support mainly covered these areas in addition to the first repairs for wheelchair rugby as athletes prepare for upcoming events.
All athletes competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games can have their equipment checked and repaired by Ottobock experts before or during competition. Like the services provided by mechanics during a pit-stop in motor racing, Ottobocks technical service team are located next to the field of play, with repairs allowing athletes back into the competition as fast as possible.
Ottobock has been a partner to the Paralympic Games providing technical service since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, and has completed approximately 10,000 repairs for athletes during Paralympic competition since then. Records for most repairs completed in a single Games were set at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games where technicians worked more than 10,000 hours completing 2,188 repairs, including 183 in a single day.
As expected, the first day of the competition was a busy one. The workshop was a hive of activity and there was the constant hum of machinery as technicians completed repairs involving sanding, sawing and welding, said Hughes Myner, Ottobock Technical Service Team Member at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Although we have conducted a very large amount of welding on the first day, we anticipate this will dramatically increase when the wheelchair rugby starts.