Winter Paralympics brings us together, says German wheelchair & prosthesis manufacturer

2022-03-13 12:29:12 Source: Xinhua

Mathias Hofmann works at the wheelchair and prosthetic repair center in the National Indoor Stadium on March 6, 2022. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Heinrich Popow, who competed at Beijing 2008 Paralympics as an athlete, returned to the Chinese capital as a wheelchair and prosthesis manufacturer. He was joined by Mathias Hofmann, who was happy that the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics bring people from different countries together providing repair services for para-athletes.

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Para ice hockey competitions of the Beijing Winter Paralympics conclude on Sunday, and German wheelchair and prosthetic manufacturers Heinrich Popow and Mathias Hofmann will have their last workday providing repair service.

The Para ice hockey competition is filled with physical contact, which always results in damage to the Para-athletes' ice sled. Therefore, Popow and Hofmann, together with their colleagues, have played an important role during the Games.

"Our repair center is equipped with welding guns. If an ice sled is broken, we can weld it up immediately. We provide repair services for anyone in need, not only the para-athletes," said Popow, who started working at the wheelchair and prosthetic repair center in the National Indoor Stadium on March 3.

This is not the first time for Popow to be part of the Paralympics. During his career as an athlete, he won a silver at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and a gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics respectively.

"Sports is like a psychotherapy, making me even forget a physical disability. Although I have retired, I still want to help more Para-athletes to realize their dreams," he said.

This time, Popow came to Beijing as a wheelchair and prosthesis manufacturer, and his sports career enabled him to better understand what Para-athletes need.

"Wheelchairs and prosthesis are a part of their body. Once there is a problem, they may feel anxious and nervous, so we need to help them in time," he noted.

Mathias Hofmann works at the wheelchair and prosthetic repair center in the National Indoor Stadium on March 6, 2022. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

His colleague Hofmann comes from Hoffenheim, a German city where ice hockey is popular. He didn't have a sports career like Popow, but has been devoting himself to wheelchair and prosthetic repair for years.

"The manufacturers in our repair center are from different countries including Germany, France, Italy and China. Now, we gather here in Beijing, working jointly to provide repair services for para-athletes, which is a precious experience," Hofmann said.

On being able to visit the dual Olympic and Paralympic city Beijing, Popow said: "I am really delighted to participate in both the Beijing Summer and Winter Paralympics spanning 14 years."

"Due to the COVID-19, I didn't get around in Beijing this time, but I will definitely come here again in the future to feel the beauty of this city with a profound history," Hofmann said.

[Editor: 刘品彤 ]
Winter Paralympics brings us together, says German wheelchair & prosthesis manufacturer-2022 BEIJING MEDIA CENTER
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