Ottobock to serve as partner of the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London
It’s been five years since med-tech company Ottobock provided technical support for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London with a team of 80 technicians. Over 22 days, the team completed 2,062 repairs for athletes from 123 countries. Ottobock is now set to return to London as the official technical support partner for the World Para Athletics Championships, the eight time the company has done so.
From 14 to 23 July 2017, 1,300 athletes will be competing in 213 medal events in London. They will be joined by a 22-member Ottobock team made up of technicians, welders and employees who will be taking care of operations tasks and logistics on-site. “The fact that a smaller team will be travelling to the World Champions than to the Paralympic Games doesn’t mean that our days will be any less busy. Every repair is unique and no athlete should have to miss out on their event due to a technical malfunction. Whether we complete 1,000 repairs or 40 – what matters is the people who come to us and their stories,” says Peter Franzel, Director of Sports Marketing & Sponsoring at Ottobock. The workshop will be open for 15 days in total. “Experience has shown that the most intense days are those before the events actually get started. Athletes like to come to us ahead of their competitions and have their equipment checked over. Sometimes this is prompted by technical concerns, but sometimes it’s purely psychological as well,” says Franzel.
And the crowds of athletes will include old friends, too: Heinrich Popow had been planning to bring his sporting career to a close in London. But then a shoulder injury and a residual limb inflammation forced him to take a break from training. Nonetheless, he’d still like to compete, and is now considering concluding his career in 2018 due to these slow-downs. Popow’s friend and training partner, Léon Schäfer, will also be competing in London. The 20-year-old, who was added to the German team at the last minute and therefore also competed in Rio, has been continually improving his performances since participating in the Paralympic Games. Schäfer has made it his goal to stand atop the podium in London with his friend and mentor Heinrich Popow. While the sun is setting on one of the friend’s sporting careers, the other’s is just in its ascendancy.