April 9 - The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has revealed it has received 21 candidates - six women and 15 men - for its first ever Athletes' Committee elections.
Although the sport's world governing body already has an Athletes' Committee in place, this will be the first time the players themselves get to vote on who will take four - two women and two men - of the eight seats on offer.
The elections are due take place during this year's Hockey World Cup, taking place in The Hague, Netherlands, from May 31 to June 15, while the remaining four seats will be appointed by the FIH Executive Board in March next year.
The body will act as a link between the active athletes and the FIH, and Simon Mason, a British three-time Olympian and current member of the Athletes' Committee,revealed they are looking for people to make sure athlete welfare is paramount, while ensuring the "athletes as a whole are respected as a group" on the international scene.
Among the candidates, who represent all five continents, are four current Athletes' Committee members - namely New Zealand's Beth Smith, Henri Lhomme of France, Australian Liam de Young and Canada's Scott Sandison, as well as seven goalkeepers.
Six of the candidates are former players, while the remainder are still actively competing for their nations.
Pakistan's Waseem Ahmed is the most experienced athlete on the list, with more than 420 caps, while five others have over 290 caps to their name.
Also featuring is Iran's first female candidate, Sanaz Heidari, who said she is honoured to have been nominated by her national governing body.
"This is a great opportunity to be an ambassador for Iran and help promote the development of hockey, women and sport," she added.
"I have been an indoor hockey player for 10 years now and have spent the last three with the national team.
"To have the chance to be a voice and representative for hockey would be a true privilege."
South Africa's Marsha Marescia, who competed at the Athens 2004 Olympics, Rachel Dawson of the United States, British London 2012 bronze medallist Anne Panter and China's Beijing 2008 silver medallist Zhang Yimeng complete the list of women's candidates.
German double Olympic champion Moritz Fürste, London 2012 silver medallist Robert van der Horst of the Netherlands, Beijing 2008 silver medallist Santi Freixa of Spain and Indian Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sardar Singh feature among the men's candidates.
Italy's Paolo Cane, Sweden's Niclas Franzén, Ireland's David Harte, David Kettle of Wales, Malaysian Jiwa Mohan, Filip Neusser of the Czech Republic and Belgian Xavier Reckinger complete the line up.
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