Mercedes-Benz gives experience of inclusion in one of the most popular disability sports in the world
Mercedes-Benz is supporting the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships (WBWC) as an official partner and will be presenting its comprehensive range of driving assistance systems and ex-factory driving aids.
The northern German city of Hamburg is now getting ready for the second-biggest event in disability sport. As the host city for the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships, which will be held from 16 to 26 August at the Inselpark arena, the city-state will be drawing the crowds to a global tournament that will be fully accessible to wheelchair athletes as well as their fans.
The brand has been supporting the World Championships as an official partner from the start. The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer’s innovation hub ‘Lab1886’ has been focusing for many years on the issue of inclusion and the project “Ex-factory driving aids” is one of those that has been taken through to series implementation.
The issue of inclusion at the World Championships in the company’s home country will be relying on the innovative appeal of the brand. Mobility throughout the World Championships will be ensured by the brand’s Hamburg’s More Mobility Centre, with a fleet of five V-Class vehicles providing VIP shuttle services.
The V-Class is the most spacious member of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car line-up, with places for up to eight people. A further 28 Sprinter panel vans will take care of transporting the wheelchairs.
The extensive outdoor display area, just outside the event venue, will allow interested parties to examine in detail the ex-factory driving aids that are available from the brand. Instructors will use the V-Class people mover and the brand-new A-Class to showcase the many ex-factory driving aids available and to talk about the company’s wide range of driving assistance systems.
“We are working every day in our Lab1886 innovation hub to develop new and multi-faceted solutions for the mobility of tomorrow. Daimler AG’s ambition with these “ex-factory driving aids” is to enable people with physical disabilities to enjoy more individual freedom and more independence in their day-to-day lives.
“The driving aids are just one of many projects to have come out of our Lab1886 and we are really looking forward to being able to present our solutions for people with restricted physical ability at the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships”, explained Susanne Hahn, Head of Lab1886 Global at Daimler AG.
World-class sport, trying out disability sport and finding out about the brand’s special vehicles off the court go hand in hand. Visitors may be tempted to linger longer by art events on the subject of “The car of the future”, the offer of light refreshments or a chance to meet wheelchair basketball professional and Brand Ambassador Sebastian Magenheim.
“We are fully motivated and really looking forward to the World Championships coming up soon, here in our home country. Our fans have so far always managed to get a fantastic atmosphere going in the halls and that is one of the things I am looking forward to most. It is great that Mercedes-Benz is here as an official partner. As a Brand Ambassador and driver of a GLA optimally geared to my requirements, I enjoy the benefits of these vehicles on a day-to-day basis”, said Germany national team member Sebastian Magenheim.
Although the focus, of course, will be on the 96 matches, one of the declared objectives is to increase awareness of disability sport and to demonstrate inclusion. The Stuttgart manufacturer’s intention is to give people with physical disabilities more individual freedom and to help enhance their enjoyment of life. So it’s understandable that mobility during the tournament will also be ensured by a fleet of vehicles from the brand.
Around the world, some 86,000 people in 106 countries are actively involved in playing wheelchair basketball, making it the most well-known and at the same time most attractive disability sport. The entertainment value is high, with even spectators with no prior experience of the sport enjoying the fascination of screeching wheels as the wheelchairs undertake spectacular high-speed manoeuvres.