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Last updated at 12:32 BST, Thursday, 06 September 2012

Paralympic workshop


6 September 2012

One of the busiest places at the Paralympics is the workshop which repairs broken wheelchairs and prosthetic blades. More than 1,700 anxious athletes have passed through its doors, seeking emergency help. And with the wheelchair rugby competition about to start, there is no easing off.


Alex Capstick

Paralympic workshop

Paralympians get their equipment fixed here


Click to hear the report


Just outside the athletes' village, a room which is a hive of activity. Paralympians need reliable equipment. This is where they come when a vital piece of apparatus breaks during competition. A quick fix can mean the difference between success and failure. Technicians are busy welding wheelchairs and filing running blades. The most common repair is for punctured tyres. And nobody, no matter how complex the problem, is turned away.

Russell Pizzey manages the workload. Wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby present his biggest challenges. Those sports involve lots of contact, and in rugby especially the players try to smash each other to bits.

Russell Pizzey, from Ottobock:
They definitely come in on quite a number of visits. Not just one visit only, and again it's depending on the game, the amount of impacts they take during that game. So again we can see big repairs to wheels, let alone the frames.

London is the 12th Paralympics for Ottobock, the company which runs the workshop. The athletes don't pay a thing, and so far at these Games those representing more than 120 countries have sought its help.

They've been frantically busy ever since they opened their doors at the Olympic Park, and they say the figure of nearly 2,200 repairs, which were carried out in Beijing, is set to be surpassed.


Click to hear the vocabulary


a hive of activity

a busy place


absolutely necessary




the amount of work that comes in




looked for


madly or hurriedly