BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to finalize by June a set of criteria on the use of artificial limbs by athletes who want to compete at the able-bodied Olympics.
The ruling body of athletics said on Thursday it was creating a working group to review Rule 144.3 (d) which says athletes using a mechanical aid cannot compete at major events unless they can prove the use of an aid will not provide them with an unfair competitive advantage.
The group’s formation was triggered by 2014 German long jump champion Markus Rehm who is attempting to become the second athlete with a prosthesis, after South African Oscar Pistorius in 2012, to compete at the Olympics.
Rehm, who is known as ‘Blade Jumper’ due to his carbon-fiber prosthesis and also competes in able-bodied events, must prove he does not have an unfair advantage if he wants to feature at the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.
He has complained about the IAAF’s delay in issuing a set of criteria and will not have much time to plead his case.
“An IAAF working group studying the generic use of prosthesis in competition by athletes with a disability, specifically the long jump, has been formed following a decision at last month’s IAAF Council Meeting,” the governing body said.
It added the group would consider the criteria necessary for athletes who use prosthesis and want to compete at the Olympics and the European Championships in July.
“This group will draw upon extensive knowledge from across disability and able-bodied athletics,” said IAAF general secretary Jean Garcia.
“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 the Olympics in Rio are aware of eligibility.”
Rehm has threatened to take legal action if he believes the IAAF is stalling.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Tony Jimenez