COLOGNE (Reuters) - Paralympic long jump champion Markus Rehm enhanced his claim for a spot at the Rio Olympics on Monday when the German revealed that a wide-ranging study indicated prosthesis-wearing athletes had no clear advantage over able-bodied competitors.
Nicknamed "Blade Jumper", the 2012 Paralympics gold medallist and 2014 national long jump champion hopes to become the second athlete with a carbon fibre prosthesis to compete at the Olympics after South Africa's Oscar Pistorius in 2012.
However, a recent International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling requires amputee competitors to prove they do not have an advantage over able-bodied athletes.
"One could not determine an advantage through the prosthesis and that makes me happy," Rehm told a news conference during a presentation of the study that examined three long jumpers with a prosthesis and three without.
"I have not given up hope of making it to Rio. It is not about medals but about presenting Paralympic sport."
Scientists said the study had shown amputees like Rehm, who lost his lower right leg in a boating accident as a teenager, had a less efficient start but a more efficient jump.
"We saw disadvantages in the run-up for athletes with amputations of the lower thigh that we could determine were due to the prosthesis," Professor Wolfgang Potthast of the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopaedics at the German Sport University Cologne said.
"But in the movement techniques, we noted an advantage due to the improved jump efficiency. These are two completely different movements and cannot be offset."
The study was conducted in association with the German Sport University Cologne, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo, the University of Colorado Boulder as well as a Japanese broadcaster.
Rehm said he now hoped the IAAF would discuss the matter with him in time to make a decision on his participation at the Aug. 5-22 Rio Games.
The 27-year-old jumped a world record 8.40 metres to win the 2015 IPC world title in Doha, a distance that would have beaten Britain's 2012 London Olympics gold medallist Greg Rutherford by nine centimetres.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien)