Earlier today, the IAAF announced the creation of working group to make recommendations to the organization concerning the use of prosthesis in IAAF recognized competitions. The working group is scheduled to have their first meeting on April 20 in Monaco, where they will have a goal of addressing the use of mechanical aid found in AAF Rule 144.3(d). They will specifically work on creating advice for the IAAF about the use of prosthesis in the long jump as it relates to this year’s European Championships and Olympic Games. The goal is to have the recommendation ready by June.
The use of prosthesis has been a hot button issue in some parts of the athletics community, with a lot of attention on the issue in the past two years because of the achievements of Germany’s Markus Rehm. He has made jumps in the long jump that would have been world records, except there were at times questions about the legitimacy of these jumps because of his prosthetic leg. Rehm was left off a German national teams despite meeting qualifying standards because of questions about unfair advantage.
Rehm’s situation followed the more well known story of South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius who went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try to get included on the South African team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Pistorius spent years trying to prove that his pair of prosthetic legs did not give him an unfair advantage.
Members of the working group announced by the IAAF include European Athletics’s Vadim Nigmatov, German Athletic Federation’s Gerhard Janetzky, International Paralympic Committee’s Ryan Montgomery, IAAF Athletes Commission’s Rozle Prezelj and IAAF HQ experts Pierre-Yves Garnier, Huw Roberts and Imre Matrahazi.
AAF General Secretary Jean Gracia is quoted in an IAAF press release as saying of this, “Council has agreed in March for a working group to study the use of prosthesis in competition. 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.”