"I want to reinforce a system in which every single idea of athletes is valued and taken into consideration."
Turkish para archer Gizem Girismen was re-elected to the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athletes’ Council during the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A record 22 athletes stood for election to the six available places.
Girismen was Paralympic champion at Beijing 2008, then carried Turkey’s flag at the Opening Ceremony in 2012. She started archery in 2004 after being paralysed in a traffic accident in 1992.
“For the last four years, we have been focusing on a variety of issues such as establishing effective communication channels for athletes, establishing an understandable classification system in communication with athletes and promoting the Athlete Career Programme, which aims to help athletes in transition from sport to a new professional career,” said Girismen.
“We have also identified liaison person for each Para sport to establish and keep effective communication between the IPC Athletes Council and different sports. The main priority has always centred on strengthening the IPC as an organisation that prioritises athletes first.”
The IPC Athletes’ Council is made up of nine athletes in total, which includes six summer athletes and three winter athletes. As the liaison between IPC decision-makers and Paralympic athletes, the Athletes’ Council works to provide effective input into decision-making at all levels of the organisation.
The Council ensures effective athlete representation on all IPC committees and commissions, as well as creating additional opportunities for athlete representation both within and outside the IPC.
Girismen said she expected to continue the work she had started in her previous term and “reinforce a system in which every single idea of athletes is valued and taken into consideration.”
“I hope to make a difference for Para athletes today and tomorrow and encourage athlete leaders to become more active in the Paralympic Movement,” she added.
More information on the IPC Athletes’ Council can be found on the IPC website.