Chelsey Gotell is set to stand down as chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council ©Getty Images

Chelsey Gotell has claimed the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council has made "significant steps forward" as she prepares to leave her position as chairperson of the body this month.

An election to find the replacement for the Canadian three-time Paralympic swimming champion is due to be held before the end of November.

Gotell said the Council's members "can be immensely proud at what the IPC Athletes’ Council has achieved over the last five years" and paid tribute to those who left the organisation following the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

"We have made significant steps forward in many areas, including increasing athlete representation at all levels of the Paralympic Movement and publishing a first ever IPC Athletes' Council strategy," she said.

"Because of the new strategy, we now have a more proactive approach and stronger accountability both to the athlete community and the IPC. 

"We have also gone from 30 athlete councils or representatives to more than 90. 

"That’s a big jump, but we’ve got 200 members - so there’s still plenty of progress to make.

"I am extremely grateful to all members of the Council for their efforts and would like to thank the outgoing summer sport representatives and co-opted members whose terms came to an end at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games."

Daniel Dias was among the competitors elected to the IPC Athletes' Council at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty Images
Daniel Dias was among the competitors elected to the IPC Athletes' Council at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty Images

Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley, Britain's most decorated Paralympian Sarah Storey of Britain and American Para cyclist Monica Bascio all served five-year terms and did not seek re-election at Tokyo 2020, and neither did Turkey’s Gizem Girismen, who had served two terms.

Co-opted members Natalie du Toit, a South African Para swimmer, Para athlete Suk Man Hong of South Korea and and Singapore boccia player Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha also departed the Council after Tokyo 2020.

Six athletes - Para athlete Martina Caironi of Italy, Brazilian Para swimming star Daniel Dias, Cuban Para athlete Omara Durand, Japanese Para swimmer Takayuki Suzuki, Dutch wheelchair basketball player Jitske Visser and Iranian Para archer Zarah Nemati - were elected to the Council in a vote held at the Games.

"The IPC Athletes’ Council has made tremendous advances over the last five years in many areas," said IPC President Andrew Parsons. 

"For certain, the athlete voice within the Paralympic Movement is now much louder than it was before Rio 2016 and as an athlete-centred, membership focused organisation, we warmly welcome this progress.

“The whole IPC Governing Board is immensely grateful for the work of all IPC Athletes’ Council members and would like to place on record our thanks to the outgoing members whose terms concluded at Tokyo 2020.

"After serving longer terms than normal due to the pandemic, they can look back on their achievements with great pride and happiness."