“It would be great to complete the treble. I have Paralympic gold and World Championship gold, so it would be great to get the European Championship as well."
Germany’s Markus Rehm has revealed his desperation to record the first eight-metre long jump T44 ahead of August’s 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain.
Rehm has come close to breaking the elusive mark on two occasions, recording a world record 7.95m in the 2013 World Championships in Lyon, France, and a wind-assisted 7.96m more recently at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy.
At last weekend’s (20-22 June) IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany, Rehm won in front of his home crowd with a distance of 7.88m – despite faulting on his first two efforts.
Now he wants to make history in Wales in the biggest event of 2014.
Rehm said: “Getting past eight metres is a huge thing for me. It’s the target for this season, because I feel really good at the moment, but for my whole career as well. I’m really going for it.
“If I can do it in a big competition, that would be amazing – but you never know when it might happen.
“Eight metres is a big jump and you have to use the best conditions, and you never know when you’ll able to compete in those conditions. I’ll just try to find good conditions and keep in shape and hopefully be ready to go when the time comes.”
The 25-year-old, who had a below the knee amputation following a wakeboarding accident, will start as hot favourite in Swansea.
He won gold in the 2011 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, and then defended his title last year.
And those victories sandwiched more glory at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he took gold in the long jump and bronze as part of the T42-46 4x100m relay team.
A back problem restricted Rehm to just four jumps at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, but he expects to be in full flight come the European Championships.
He said: “I think I’m in good shape and I hope I can go close to the eight-metre mark. I’ve problems with my back at the moment, but I’ll try to stay healthy and go for the European Championships.
“I love the long jump and I feel really good. Of course you are nervous before big competitions, but when you get there they’re always great. I just like to jump and that’s a good thing. I can just focus on the jumping.”
On the prospect of winning gold at the European Championships, Rehm added: “It would be great to complete the treble. I have Paralympic gold and World Championship gold, so it would be great to get the European Championship as well. I’m in good shape and I’ll definitely be going for the gold in Swansea, without doubt.”
Rehm will be one of 600 athletes from 40 countries competing at the Swansea 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships between 18-23 August.
Tickets for the event at Swansea University are now on-sale and can be purchased via the Swansea 2014 ticket website. Prices start from £3 per session.