LONDON - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Saturday announced the six elected members of the IPC Athletes' Council for the next four years. Soccer seven-a-side athlete Jon McCullough of the United States is among the athletes elected to the council.
The six council members include four newly elected athletes: sitting volleyball player Elvira Stinnissen of the Netherlands, track athlete Arnaud Assoumani of France, archer Gizem Girismen from Turkey, and McCullough.
Swimmer Teresa Perales of Spain and wheelchair fencer Yu Chui Yee of Hong Kong are the two re-elected athletes who complete the six member IPC Athletes' Council.
The IPC Athletes' Council is made up of nine athletes in total, which includes the aforementioned six summer athletes and three winter athletes, and chairman Bob Balk.
Speaking on the election, Balk said: "The Athletes' Council plays an important role for the IPC, and the Athletes' Council is the collective voice for all Paralympic athletes within the IPC and the greater Paralympic Movement.
"We act as a liaison between the IPC decision makers and Paralympic athletes, and contribute to effective decision making at all levels of the IPC. It's a very important role and it's great for these athletes to step up and contribute their thoughts.
"I congratulate all of them for their contribution to the IPC and for representing the athletes going forward."
As the liaison between IPC decision-makers and Paralympic athletes, the Athletes' Council works to provide effective input into decision-making at all levels of the organisation. To this end, the Council works to ensure effective athlete representation on all IPC committees and commissions as well as to create other opportunities for athlete representation both within and outside the IPC.
The elections took place from the Aug. 27-Sept. 7, with 1,970 athletes placing their votes, representing a 46 percent overall turnout.
After being re-elected, seven-time gold medallist Chui Yee stated her high hopes for the future of Paralympic sport. "I am so happy to be elected for a second time for the Athlete Council representative," she said.
"While I am here I would like to encourage every athlete to communicate with us to tell us what they want and what they need, so that we can try to figure out and voice their opinion to the governing bodies in order to improve the Paralympic games and improve disabled sport."
McCullough echoed her sentiments.
"I would like to reiterate that as well," he said. "I think it is an immense honour for us to have the opportunity to be the voice of our fellow athletes in the Paralympic Movement.
"I think as far as working together, I think it is something that we can continue in the Paralympic Movement, and I am really looking forward to that."
The three winter sport council members will be re-elected at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.