Authorities question whether prosthetic gives long-jumper Rehm advantage | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.07.2014
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Authorities question whether prosthetic gives long-jumper Rehm advantage

Amputee long-jumper Markus Rehm is a German champion. But sporting officials are asking whether his prosthetic leg gives him an unfair advantage, and his participation in the European Championships is in question.

Rehm was waiting to hear on Sunday whether he would be able to participate in next month's European Championships in Zurich. The 25-year-old completed a world record jump of 8.24 meters, besting his previous world record by 29 centimeters, at the Ulm German Athletics Championship on Saturday.

"Incredible. There are just some jumps you do perfectly - and that's how it was today," said Rehm, whose right leg is amputated below the knee, after his winning-performance.

Rehm, a Paralympics gold medalist in 2012, has in theory earned himself a spot in the August 12-17 European Athletics Championships. While the sporting director of Germany's DLV athletics association, Thomas Kurschilgen, said Rehm "can be nominated," whether he will actually compete remains unclear.

Unfair advantage?

According to German media reports, the European Athletics Association (EAA) wants to investigate whether Rehm's prosthetic limb gives him an unfair advantage.

News agency SID reported that the EAA will discuss Rehm's situation with the DLV and world association IAAF. The DLV will name its squad this week.

"Complex analysis is needed in order to answer this question," said DLV head coach Idriss Gonschinska.

Fellow competitor Sebastian Bayer said that Rehm's prosthetic limb could provide a catapult-like effect to his jump.

"The prosthetic seems 15 centimeters longer than the other leg. My legs are both the same length," said Bayer, who finished fifth.

Rehm says the prosthetic is "three, four centimeters longer than his other leg, but the disparity keeps him from hobbling during the run-up to his jump.

"I think it doesn't give me an advantage or a disadvantage. The prosthetic is replacing what I don't have anymore," he said.

Similar complaints were raised in the lead-up to and during the 2012 Olympics in London, when double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius competed for South Africa.

dr/kms (SID, dpa)