A working group has been established by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to study the use of prostheses in competition by athletes with a disability.
Long jump will be a specific focus of the working group, following German Paralympic and world champion Markus Rehm’s pursuit of a place in his country’s team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Rehm, who triumphed in the F44 event at the London 2012 Paralympics, previously stated he was hoping to talk to the IAAF about competing at the Games later this year alongside able-bodied counterparts.
He broke his own world record with a jump of 8.40 metres at last year’s International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Doha.
The distance was further than the 8.31m managed by Britain’s Greg Rutherford to win the Olympic gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Rehm has been aiming to become only the second Paralympic athlete to participate at the Olympics using a blade after the now disgraced Oscar Pistorius competed in the 400m and 4x400m relay at London 2012.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) have made it clear they will refuse to select him, however, with opponents claiming the prosthetic blade he uses could be utilised as a spring which would therefore give him an unfair advantage.
Led by IAAF general secretary Jean Gracia, the working group have been given the objective of agreeing a recommendation for the approval of the IAAF Council regarding rule 144.3(d).
Currently the rule prohibits “the use of any mechanical aid, unless the athlete can establish on the balance of probabilities that the use of an aid would not provide him with an overall competitive advantage over an athlete not using such aid.”
“Council has agreed in March for a working group to study the use of prosthesis in competition,” said Gracia.
“This group will draw upon extensive knowledge from across disability and able-bodied athletics.
“It is our aim to bring clarity to what is a complex question of technical eligibility as soon as possible so athletes wishing to compete at the European Championships in Amsterdam and at Olympics in Rio are aware of eligibility.”
Gracia will chair the first meeting on April 20 in Monaco, where he will be joined by the German Athletic Federation’s Gerhard Janetzky, European Athletics’ Vadim Nigmatov and Ryan Montgomery from the International Paralympic Committee.
IAAF Athletes Commission member Rozle Prezelj and IAAF experts Pierre-Yves Garnier, Huw Roberts and Imre Matrahazi complete the working group.
- By Michael Pavitt
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz