November 6 - A new Athletes' Commission is to be set up by the British Paralympic Association (BPA) in a move it claims is designed to give competitors more of a voice in the decision-making process.
The new body will be made up of nine Paralympians who have represented Britain at the Games since Athens 2004.
It will be chaired by Dave Clarke, captain of the ParalympicsGB football-five-a-side team at London 2012 , who also represented Britain at Beijing 2008 and at Atlanta 1996 in goalball.
Clarke will be joined on the Commission by a number of Paralympic and world champions, including Beijing 2008 gold medal winning rowers Tom Aggar and Helene Dyson, former world champion swimmer Claire Cashmore, and four-time Paralympic equestrian gold medallist Sophie Christiansen.
The three other athletes that complete the line-up are London 2012 medallists Stefanie Reid, a silver medallist in the long jump, and Ben Quilter, a judo bronze medallist, along with Vancouver 2010 skier Tim Farr.
All nine athletes were nominated by their sports and fellow athletes and represent a balance across winter and summer disciplines and impairment groups, the BPA claimed.
"It is a real privilege to have been selected to this role and I can't wait to get started," said Clarke.
"With a range of sports, backgrounds and experience on board, I am optimistic that British Paralympic athletes will feel well represented by this group and that we will work together on the issues which matter to them.
"The BPA is a very athlete-focussed organisation and has always proved to be proactive in the work that they do to support us, but this is a fantastic initiative that will further strengthen the voice of British Paralympic athletes.
"I have no doubt that the Commission can help the BPA so that athletes continue to be at the heart of plans for each ParalympicsGB team."
In doing so, areas such as anti-doping, team planning, Games services, kit, preparation strategies and Athlete Village arrangements, along with supporting the BPA's response to international matters such as classification, will come under the remit of the new body.
The Commission will also support the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council election process and have a commitment to support British influence at this level.
"On behalf of everyone at the BPA, I'm delighted that we are able to announce our first ever Athletes' Commission and I look forward to working with this group in the future," said BPA chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.
"Competing at a Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of any athlete's career, and this initiative shows that we are doing everything we can to support British athletes as they prepare to compete on the world stage, including harnessing all the experience and knowledge of those who have been through the unique experience of competing for ParalympicsGB at a Summer or Winter Games."
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