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Rehm chooses the limit, dreams of competing at the Olympics

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on November 13, 2019
Markus Rehm has trained his sights on not just the German record of 8.54 metres but the world record of 8.95 metres for able-bodied athletes (Photo by James Jose)

This was his fifth gold at the Worlds for Rehm

German champion Markus Rehm has featured in two Paralympics up until now, and with distinction. And the Tokyo Paralympics, in 10 months' time, will be his third.

But the London and Rio gold medallist still harbours a dream, a long-standing dream of being able to compete with able-bodied athletes at the Olympics.

The 31-year-old 'Blade Jumper,' came up with a jump of 8.17 metres to clinch the gold in the men's long jump T64 category on the seventh day of the World Para Athletics Championships on Wednesday.

This was his fifth gold at the Worlds for Rehm, who holds the world record in the discipline with a jump of 8.48 metres set in Berlin last year.

But Rehm has trained his sights on not just the German record of 8.54 metres but the world record of 8.95 metres for able-bodied athletes.

It is not medals or laurels he is after but to inspire people that they are capable of doing it.

"It would be lovely to compete there," Rehm said of competing at the Olympics one day, at the Dubai Club for People of Determination Stadium.

"That is still one of my goals. It is not for me, about winning a medal there or because I'm a para athlete. My major event will be the Paralympics in Tokyo next year but if we have the chance to compete with the Olympic athletes, it will be a great opportunity to show how our sport developed, how great our athletes became the last few years. That is a great message and it would be just great to compete," he explained.

Rehm works as a medical specialist at Bayer Leverkusen and said that it gives him satisfaction to help others. He is also a philanthropist who regularly donates to organisations of people with disabilities.

"It is always great to inspire others. Of course, it is also part of my job to help others, to help them get back into life, get back their mobility. One side it is my job and on the other side it is my passion. It is always nice to help people on their journey and I had a couple of nice situations when they came in the wheelchair and then they walked out of the door. That's great and I will continue doing that," said Rehm.

Rehm has competed with able-bodied athletes before, at the German Athletics Championships in 2014, where he won gold with a distance of 8.24 metres.

But many able-bodied athletes protested that he had an unfair advantage due to his prosthetic carbon-fiber blade and the title was upheld.

The same year, Rehm was later disqualified at the European Championships for the same reason.

He competed in the German Championships, the next year, and topped again but was not ranked.

Double amputee South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competed at the 2012 London Olympics, to become the first athlete to participate in a track event of both the Olympics and the Paralympic Games.

And Rehm, whose right leg was amputated below the knee following a wakeboarding accident when he was 14, hopes to follow in Pistorius's footsteps.

And as his motto goes: 'Choose the limit.'

james@khaleejtimes.com

 


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