Bespoke racing wheelchairs designed and manufactured by UK firm Draft will be used by a number of medal hopefuls during the London 2012 Paralympics, including Beijing gold medalist David Weir and London Marathon winner Shelly Woods (below).
The chairs are custom built for each athlete with particular attention paid to the seat to allow optimum body positioning.
Frames built from lightweight aluminium for speed and durability are constructed in V, open V or T styles depending on the lower body of each athlete, and foot plates are added if necessary.
Wheels are designed with either stainless steel spokes for rigidity or carbon fibre bracing/disks that weigh less and can increase speed.
Athletes from Great Britain, Spain, Finland, Canada and other countries will compete with the Draft chairs in the T54 category.
The wheelchair racing track events held in the Olympic Stadium begin on Friday 1 September and the marathons take place around the streets on London on Sunday 9 September.
We're running a series of design for Paralympic athletes over the coming days - see our story about the Nike Spike Pad for Oscar Pistorius here and all our stories about London 2012 here.
Here is some more information from Draft:
The Draft Mistral comes from over a decade of quiet research and evolution leading to international acclaim as one of the best racing wheelchairs available in the world. The Mistral has been designed to achieve that sweetspot of being custom built, lightweight and stiff without compromising strength, performance and safety.
Available in an infinite number of different configurations from the traditional sitting position to full solid kneeler with foot pod, the fully custom built Mistral will allow you the range of positions you require to obtain the most efficient position for top flight competition. After an assessment (allow 2-3 hours), each chair is individually tailor made in our workshop for each client; no production lines or pre-fabrication. Clients are often asked for a fitting mid-build to allow any fine tuning to be done.
At an extra cost we offer a special build facility for those with a more unusual shape who might require some intensive development work. We also offer the opportunity to book a visit to the workshop and have your chair built around you. You can try your chair before we send it for spray or indeed take it away in a raw aluminium finish. Our specification form is essentially a blank sheet of paper, and we are always interested in new ideas which our clients bring us. This service and attention to detail understandably takes a little longer to deliver, but many world class athletes believe that it is worth the wait.
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