German Paralympians bag 66 medals in London

The 2012 Paralympics drew finished on Sunday with German athletes having won 66 medals, a total that put them in eight place. First was taken by China, second by Russia and third went to competition hosts, the UK.

German Paralympians bag 66 medals in London
Photo: DPA

With 18 gold, 26 silver and 22 bronze medals in this year’s Paralympic summer games, Germany was not one of the runaway success stories leaving London. But the squad bagged three last-minute gold medals on Sunday, one of which for a record-breaking long-jump by Markus Rehm.

Climbing three places since the 2008 Beijing games, Germany’s gold medals included equestrian, shot-put, table tennis, and athletics events.

Stand-out athletes included 59-year-old Marianne Buggenhagen, who collected silver in the shot-put. The medal was her thirteenth, who said she was “motivated like you couldn’t believe,” for the Rio games in four years time.

The final gold was won by table tennis champion Jochen Wollmert, for whom it was his fifth medal. He put his win down to “47 years of experience” under pressure.

Table tennis player Thomas Schmidberger carried the German flag at the sold-out closing ceremony on Sunday. The outstanding performances at, huge interest in and bombastic staging of, this year’s Paralympics have been widely hailed as marking a huge step forward for the perception of disabled people.

But German society has much ground to cover, said Hubert Hüppe, the government’s commissioner for the disabled on Monday. He said while integration was well-established in the UK, in Germany it was still commonplace for disabled people to be excluded from general education and disadvantaged.

Hüppe told radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur that disabled pupils should receive better sports lessons.

He also praised the London games for being positive for the disabled community but did voice disappointment that there was a notable lack of mentally disabled athletes.

Eager supporters snapped up around 2.7 million tickets for the eleven-day event, a record for the games. Four years ago in Beijing, 1.29 million were sold and four years before that in Athens, just 850,000 were sold.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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Fuelled by diesel bans and Brexit, London black cabs get set for German streets

The company behind the iconic black London cab have gone green, bringing out a new hybrid fleet. Amid Brexit uncertainty they’ve targeted Germany as their primary export market.

Fuelled by diesel bans and Brexit, London black cabs get set for German streets
Black cabs in London. Image: DPA

The black cab is to London what the yellow cab is to New York City. Even for those who have never set foot in either metropolis, the taxis are an icon representing the city around the globe. 

At a time when Britain appears to becoming more insular and isolated, LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) — the company responsible for the London black cab — have set their sights on Europe and have a focus on Germany. 

Aside from the Brexit uncertainty — which the company says could cut their business by 20 to 30 percent – Germany’s recent diesel bans have created an opportunity for the newly-green manufacturer.

SEE ALSO: Germany plans to extend transition period for Brits in case of no-deal

They’ve already sold 200 in Germany and expect orders to continue in the coming years. 

Taxi driver Jörg Röttjer with his London-style cab in Hanover in the 1960s. Image: DPA

Along with the Brexit uncertainty, Germany is an attractive market 

Although the German taxi market is relatively well established — and there are of course no shortages of local car manufacturers — environmental concerns have made the hybrid black cabs a more attractive option in Deutschland. 

With diesel bans coming into place in a number of German cities and emissions reduction targets still out of reach, the company expects demand to rise. 

SEE ALSO: Government calls upon diesel car manufacturers to up their game in 2019

LEVC chief Jörg Hofmann told the Süddeutsche Zeitung “Germany is our main market (outside of the UK)”. 

The black cabs won’t purely be limited to tax duties either. Rideshare companies like Hamburg’s Clevershuttle have incorporated the black cabs into their services, while Hofmann sees several different uses — such as delivery vans. 

“At my home every day, two or three delivery vans with running diesel engines are just around the corner, because we buy everything on the Internet and it must be delivered,” he said.

With delivery vehicles potentially being heavily hit by the bans, many companies will need to convert. 

A regeneration

Despite the iconic nature of the black cabs and their ubiquity on London streets, a few years back, their future was far from certain. The diesel-powered cabs had been identified by the British government as a cause of pollution, particularly in London. 

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Authorities changed the rules in January 2019 so that all new cabs hitting London streets would be electric-powered. As a result, the company shifted to a ‘hybrid’ model – running off a battery which is charged by petrol once it runs low.