Paralympic long jump champion Markus Rehm had expressed his hope of competing at the Rio Olympic Games this summer
Markus Rehm’s chances of competing at the Rio Olympic Games looked slimmer on Friday (June 17) after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said that the Paralympic long jump champion has so far failed to prove that his prosthetic does not give him a “competitive advantage”.
Germany’s Rehm, a single-leg amputee who competes wearing a carbon fibre blade prosthesis following a wakeboarding accident when he was a teenager, improved his own world T44 long jump record to 8.40m when winning his third successive title at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha last October.
That mark achieved by Rehm, who jumps off his blade, is just one centimetre off the leap Britain’s Greg Rutherford recorded to win the IAAF world title in Beijing last August, while the distance would have been enough for Olympic gold in London in 2012.
A working group was established by the IAAF earlier this year to look into the generic use of prostheses in competition. The objective of the working group was to agree a recommendation for the approval of the IAAF Council regarding IAAF Rule 144.3(d) which governs that “athletes using a mechanical aid cannot be allowed to compete at major championships unless they can establish that the use of an aid would not provide them with an overall competitive advantage over an athlete not using such an aid”.
A study so far is said to have shown a more efficient jump but disadvantages in the run-up.
According to insidethegames, results from the study – conducted by the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopaedics (German Sport University Cologne), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology/Human Informatics Research Institute (Tokyo and University of Colorado Boulder), and the Department of Integrative Physiology (Boulder/Colorado) – were inconclusive.
“He has to prove that the prosthetic that he uses does not give him a competitive advantage and at this stage he has not,” said IAAF president Seb Coe.
“We await research to show either way and we continue to discuss this with him.
“At this stage he has not been able to show that this does not create a competitive advantage.”
Last year Rehm spoke with AW at the London Anniversary Games where the athlete explained how he had been denied a second national title despite recording the longest jump at the German Championships for the second year in a row.
Britain’s Paralympic, world and European long jump medallist Stef Reid recently wrote a blog post for AW and said that the wrong question is being asked when it comes to the use of prosthetic blades in athletics.