Markus Rehm wins T44 LJ in 8.40m, 2015 IPC Athletics World Champs, your daily dose from DOHA, by Stuart Weir


22401498972_e04c949341_k-2.jpgMarkus Rehm, photo from IPC

Markus Rehm cleared 8.40m to win the T44 Long Jump at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Champs. It is also ironic to note the Mr. Rehm won the German Athletics LJ this year in 8.24m, but would not be allowed to compete in the World Champs.

Stuart Weir raises the question once again about prosthetic limbs, do they give athletes an advantage? What do you think?

The question of whether prosthetic limbs give an athlete an unfair advantage was raised again at the IPC World Championships in Doha, when the German, Markus Rehm, won the T44 long jump with a winning distance of 8.40. That Greg Rutherford won the 2015 IAAF World Championship long jump with a distance of 8.41, puts Rehm's achievement in context.

Rehm, who lost his lower right leg in a wakeboarding accident as a 14-year-old, competed in the German national trials (non-disabled) in 2014 and won with a jump of 8.24. The expectation was that as winner of the trials he would automatically be selected for the European Championships in Zurich. However, the German Athletics Federation decided not to take him, because of doubts over whether a prosthetic limb gave a jumper an advantage over "able-bodied" athletes.

After winning in Doha, Rehm spoke about his frustrations with the current state of negotiations: "The IAAF says that I have to prove that I don't have any advantage. That is not a good decision by the IAAF because you cannot put that pressure on the athlete. It is not my job".

On the question of whether he has an advantage, Rehm is honest but unsure: "At the moment we don't have any data that can prove it. We talk about some advantage maybe at the take-off but other people say there are big disadvantages in the run-up - you don't have the same balance ... and of course you cannot go so fast. So some measurements are needed to find out - I think it will be quite difficult - but it would be amazing if we can find out".

He continued: " I would agree on a compromise. I wish we could all sit around a table and find a good solution for all of us". That compromise could involve Rehm competing in major championships but without being eligible for a medal. Rehm said that he was happy to win his medals in the paralympic arena but would love the chance to compete with non-disabled athletes to "show what we paralympic athletes are capable of".

The debate recalls the case of South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, who was eventually allowed to run in able-bodied competitions after a lengthy process of scientific tests and appeals.

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