Afghan cyclist Yulduz Hashimi, right, is among the candidates for the OCA Athletes' Committee elections in Hangzhou ©Getty Images

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has revealed 26 candidates for 10 positions in its first Athletes' Committee elections alongside the delayed Asian Games in Hangzhou, including Afghan cyclist Yulduz Hashimi among the female nominees for Central Asia.

One male and one female representative from each of the OCA's five regions are set to be elected, although only nine of the places are due to be filled at Hangzhou 2022 because London 2012 Olympics women's singles badminton bronze medallist Saina Nehwal of India is the only nominee from South Asia.

From Central Asia, Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadidi, Uzbekistan's Tokyo 2020 Olympics wrestling bronze medallist Bekzod Abdurakhmonov and Turkmenistan's swimmer Merdan Ataýew are the male candidates and Iranian shooter Najmeh Khedmati, judoka Zulhumar Dashkinova of Turkmenistan and Hashimi are the female candidates.

Hashimi was forced to flee Afghanistan following the Taliban's return to power in 2021, and the hardline Islamist group severely restricts the rights of women and girls under its interpretation of sharia law.

There have been warnings Afghanistan could be banned from the Paris 2024 Olympics if the inclusion of women in its team cannot be guaranteed, but the country's National Olympic Committee has avoided suspension.

Hong Kong's karateka Lee Chun-ho, South Korean shooter Shin Hyun-woo won, Japanese high jumper Naoto Tobe and shooter Yang Kun-pi of Chinese Taipei are the male candidates from East Asia, with Chinese Taipei's swimmer Huang Mei-chien and three-time Olympic table tennis gold medallist Ding Ning of China the female candidates from the region.

Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim is one of six male candidates form West Asia in the OCA Athletes' Committee elections  ©Getty Images
Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim is one of six male candidates form West Asia in the OCA Athletes' Committee elections ©Getty Images

Gymnast Terry Tay of Singapore is the only male candidate from South-East Asia, with his compatriot  Shayna Ng from bowling, softball player Francesca Altomonte of the Philippines, bowler Shalin Zulkifli of Malaysia and Vietnamese judoka Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thủy in the running for the female position.

West Asia is the OCA's other region, from where Yemeni boxer Mohammed Al Qarnas, Qatari joint-Olympic high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim, Jordan's Olympic karate bronze medallist Abdelrahman Al-Masatfa, Iraqi middle-distance runner Adnan Taess, Saudi Arabian rower Husein Alireza and Palestinian triathlete Abdallah Abushabab are the male candidates.

Jordanian taekwondo athlete Julyana Al Sadeq and Palestinian karateka Hala Al Qadi are standing for the female role.

Athletes Committee members had previously been appointed by the Executive Board from National Olympic Committees' nominations.

Changes were revealed at the OCA Athletes' Forum in Bangkok in March, prior to the disputed election of Kuwaiti Sheikh Talal Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah in the Thai capital in July.

The fallout of the election has led to Sheikh Talal's brother Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah - who led the OCA for 30 years until 2021 before he was forced to step down after being found guilty of forgery in a court in Geneva and sentenced to at least 13 months in prison - being banned for three years as an International Olympic Committee member for alleged interference.

Athletes' Committee elections are scheduled for September 24 to October 6 open to around 15,000 athletes.