Germany's 'blade jumper' still hopes for Olympics chance

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Berlin (AFP)

Germany's paralympic long-jump champion Markus Rehm still hopes to compete against able-bodied athletes at August's Olympics after a study published Monday said it was unclear whether his carbon-fibre prosthesis gave him an advantage.

The study, published by the German sports university in Cologne, has said it is "difficult, if not impossible" to determine whether paralympic athletes get an advantage over the able-bodied when they compete with a prosthesis.

The study, carried out in conjunction with institutes in Cologne, Colorado and Tokyo, found athletes with a running-specific prosthesis have a disadvantage in the run up, but gain a better technique for the long jump, leaving it open whether a false limb helps or hinders athletes.

"There was no clear advantage detected through those using a prothesis, so that makes me happy," said Rehm, who has been dubbed 'blade jumper', and says his goal is to "bring together the Olympic and Paralympic sports".

Rehm, who lost his lower right leg in a wakeboarding accident as a 14-year-old, hopes the study will now open discussions in the IAAF, the International Association of Athletics Federations, which could see him compete as an able-bodied athlete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which run from August 5-21.

To compete in the Rio Olympics, Rehm must prove his prosthesis gives him no advantage over able-bodied athletes after the IAAF brought in a new rule last August.

A decision is only expected to be made next month, at the earliest, at the next IAAF council meeting.

The German aims to be the second athlete with a prosthesis to compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics after South African runner Oscar Pistorius ran in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the 2012 London Games.

The 27-year-old Rehm says he will definitely compete at the Paralympics, which will take place in Rio from September 7-18, but he wants to compete alongside able-bodied athletes at the Olympics.

"I haven't given up hope of starting at the Olympics," said Rehm, who won the 2012 paralympic long-jump gold in London and set the world record of 8.40m last October.

"I am not concerned about medals, it's about giving paralympic sport a stage."