By Nick Butler

Ottobock technician works on a new mould for a prosthetic leg during Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesMarch 12 - Repair and service work has been provided on 180 occasions by technical service providers Ottobock during the first half of the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, it has been revealed.

Workshops are based at five different locations across the Games sites and have been open 12 hours a day to ensure Paralympic athletes are able to stay primed for action without interrupting the competition.

In what has been compared to the services provided by mechanics in motor racing, the teams are responsible for repair and maintenance of equipment used by Paralympians and getting athletes back into the competition as fast as possible.

With specialist knowledge and a fast turnaround essential, the team of technicians have had to draw on their experience from 11 previous Games and work creatively to implement repairs across all five Paralympic sports and to 36 out of the 47 nations competing.

This work has ranged from repairing competition equipment to adapting wheelchairs for use by Flagbearers during the Opening Ceremony last Friday (March 7).

Ottobock technicians mending kit during the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty ImagesOttobock technicians mending kit during the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty Images

The largest demand for repairs so far has come from Alpine skiing, with 92, while a further 58 have been carried out for ice sledge hockey competitors, where specialist welders have also been on-hand to service equipment.

As the Games enters the final four days of competition, it is expected that the number of repairs will increase as athletes push themselves and their equipment to the limit.

"The Paralympic Games are the culmination of four years of commitment and sacrifice for these athletes," said Ottobock's technical service organising director Peter Franzel.

"Almost all of them rely on equipment to train and compete and if there are problems it is Ottobock they turn to.

"We take this responsibility very seriously.

"In 25 years of supporting the technical service needs of athletes we have developed a reputation for reliability and dedication.

"Athletes know they can trust us when it matters the most - this is something all our technicians are extremely proud of and supporting athletes in this way is a real honour."

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