The International Paralympic Committee Athletes' Council represents Para athletes from across the Paralympic Movement ©IPC

Seven winter sport athletes have been nominated for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council, with elections due to take place during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics.

The seven candidates, who are vying for three spots on the Athletes' Council, are required to be active Paralympic athletes, meaning they must compete at Pyeongchang 2018 or have competed at Sochi 2014 or Vancouver 2010.

The athletes up for election are Alpine skiers Zsolt Balogh, Marie Bochet and Claudia Lösch of Hungary, France and Austria respectively, along with Nordic skiers Rudolf Klemetto from Finland, Yuanyuan Peng of China, Birgit Røkkum Skarstein of Norway and Witold Skupień of Poland.

The three winning candidates will replace Norwegian ice hockey player Eskil Hagen, Finnish Alpine skier Katja Saarinen and Russia's Mikhail Terentiev, a seven-time Paralympic medal winner in cross-country skiing and biathlon and current secretary general of the Russian Paralympic Committee.

They will all be stepping down from their positions in March at the end of their terms.

Marie Bochet is one of three Alpine skiers up for election to the IPC Athletes' Council ©Getty Images
Marie Bochet is one of three Alpine skiers up for election to the IPC Athletes' Council ©Getty Images

Chelsey Gotell, a Canadian Paralympic swimmer who is chairman of the Council, said she was pleased with the list of candidates up for election.

"I think it shows the growing profile of the IPC Athletes' Council that we have more than twice as many candidates standing for election in 2018 as we did in 2014," she said.

"I urge all athletes attending Pyeongchang 2018 to listen to what each candidate has to say before casting their all-important vote.

"The three elected candidates will join an enthusiastic group of summer athletes who are deeply committed to strengthening the IPC and all member organisations as athlete centered organisations."

The Athletes' Council aims to act as the liaison between athletes and decision-makers and influence how Paralympic sport grows and develops.

The existing Council members are vice chairperson and volleyball player Elvira Stinissen of The Netherlands, United States cyclist Monica Bascio, Australian and South Korean wheelchair racers Kurt Fearnley and Hong Suk-man, Turkish archer Gizem Girismen, Great Britain's 16-time Paralympic cycling medallist Sarah Storey and Singaporean boccia player Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha.

They are joined by International Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission representative Hayley Wickenheiser, a former ice hockey player.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics will run between March 9 and 18.