Paralympic jumper Rehm places Rio hopes on scientific study

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Paralympic long jump champion Markus Rehm hopes a scientific study will clear him to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by finding that he has no unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes by using his carbon-fiber prosthesis.

Rehm is hoping to compete both at the Olympics in August and at the following Paralympics. To become eligible under international rules, Rehm has to prove that his prosthesis gives him no advantage over athletes with a similar disability or non-amputee long jumpers.

Rehm could become the second athlete with a carbon-fiber prosthesis to compete in the Olympics and the Paralympics after South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius in 2012.

The German Sport University in Cologne said it will conduct the study jointly with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo, the University of Colorado and a Japanese broadcaster. The results will be presented at the end of June.

“They will measure and analyze data from Markus Rehm and similar caliber athletes to better understand his performance and compare his performance to that of non-amputee athletes,” the German sports University said Tuesday in a news release.

The study will allow scientists to “objectively consider” whether Rehm’s prosthesis gives him an advantage, the statement said.

A new rule by the International Association of Athletics Federations introduced last year leaves it to amputee competitors to prove their prosthesis does not put them in an advantage over able-bodied athletes. Rehm lost his lower right leg in a boating accident.

He won the gold medal at 2012 London Paralympics and also holds the world record in his competition class at 8.40 meters. Rehm also won the German national title in 2014 over non-amputee athletes, drawing a mixed reaction.

He was then prevented from competing on the German team at the European Championships, with track and field officials saying the prosthesis could give him an unfair catapult effect.

Under current rules, the 27-year-old Rehm would not be eligible for the German team.

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