NEW YORK, July 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Double amputee athlete Blake Leeper will be permitted to compete today in the 400 meter race at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships while his times will be held in abeyance as he pursues his application with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to compete against able-bodied athletes. Mr. Leeper has retained the prominent attorneys Jeffrey Kessler, David Feher and the law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP to file an application with the IAAF, with supporting expert testing information, establishing that Mr. Leeper has no overall competitive advantage with his prosthetics against able-bodied athletes and thus should be permitted to compete in all IAAF and USATF sanctioned races, including the Olympics.
The IAAF and USATF have advised Mr. Leeper that, pending the IAAF's determination, Mr. Leeper is free to compete in IAAF and USATF-sanctioned events, with his times held in abeyance during the application proceedings, but Mr. Leeper expects to have his times fully cleared in order to enable him to try to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan against able-bodied athletes.
Mr. Leeper made the following statement: "It has been my dream to qualify for the Olympics to compete against the world's best 400 meter runners, and I will do everything in my power to make that possible. Disabled athletes should be given the same chance to compete as the able-bodied."
Mr. Kessler and Mr. Feher have previously represented double-amputee 400m runner and 2012 Olympian Oscar Pistorius in successful proceedings in the Court of Arbitration for Sport establishing that Mr. Pistorius had no overall competitive advantage against able-bodied runners and thus was entitled to compete. The Winston team representing Mr. Leeper also includes Isabelle Mercier-Dalphond and Ben Gordon.
SOURCE Winston & Strawn LLP