David Harte will stand in the election at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Irish hockey captain David Harte has emerged as the latest candidate for election to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission at Tokyo 2020.

The 31-year-old, a former world goalkeeper of the year who captained the Irish men's team at Rio 2016, was put forward for a place on the Commission by the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI).

Harte's candidacy also has the support of the OFI Athletes' Commission.

Four athletes from four different sports will be elected by secret ballot at next year's Olympic Games in the Japanese capital.

Those chosen will automatically become members of the IOC.

Patrick Hickey, who remains self-suspended following his arrest on alleged ticket scalping charges at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, is Ireland's only IOC member.

National Olympic Committees had until September 9 to put forward candidates for the Athletes' Commission election at Tokyo 2020.

They are currently being vetted by the IOC Ethics Commission, which is conducting ethics, doping and background checks.

insidethegames exclusively revealed earlier this month that double Olympic triathlon gold medallist Alistair Brownlee will stand in the election after he was proposed by the British Olympic Association.

Pau Gasol, who has played in the National Basketball Association for 18 years and been endorsed by the Spanish Olympic Committee, and Olympic Greece's Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi are among the other candidates so far.

The Italian National Olympic Committee is putting forward Federica Pellegrini, winner of Olympic gold in the 200 metres freestyle at Beijing 2008.

Sailor Pavlos Kontides, who remains the only Cypriot athlete to win a medal at the Olympic Games, is also in the running.

David Harte captained the Irish team at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
David Harte captained the Irish team at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

The four athletes chosen will replace the outgoing members whose terms on the IOC Athletes' Commission come to an end at the conclusion of Tokyo 2020, and will serve an eight-year term through to Los Angeles 2028.

Those leaving the group include chairperson Kirsty Coventry, Australia's James Tomkins, France's Tony Estanguet and Sweden's Stefan Holm.

Coventry is eligible to stand for re-election as a member because she competed at Rio 2016, but would not automatically be reinstated as chairperson.

The Zimbabwean, though, has already been appointed by IOC President Thomas Bach as head of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Dakar.

This has raised speculation she will be made a permanent IOC member when her current mandate ends.

Slovakian shooter Danka Barteková's term will also end at Tokyo 2020, but she is eligible to stand for re-election as an active athlete and will be a strong contender for one of the four places.

Tomkins, Estanguet and Holm will all step down from the Commission permanently as they are not active athletes.

Harte captained Ireland at last year's Men's World Cup and was part of the team which earned bronze at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in London.

He has made 215 appearances for Ireland in his career and is one of the country's best-known hockey players.

Patrick Hickey, who is self-suspended, is Ireland's only IOC member ©Getty Images
Patrick Hickey, who is self-suspended, is Ireland's only IOC member ©Getty Images

Ireland will not be competing in the men's hockey tournament at Tokyo 2020 after they were beaten in a two-legged qualifier by Canada.

Harte, who missed both games through injury, made headlines after the defeat, which came in a shootout after the tie finished 6-6.

The goalkeeper was critical of the referees after they awarded a last-gasp penalty stroke to Canada, which was scored to send the tie to a shootout.

Canada prevailed 5-4 to book their place at Tokyo 2020 and leave the Irish team heartbroken.