New IPC Athletes' Council Chair Elected

The first International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete’s Council meeting of the year took place last weekend in Bonn, Germany, ending with the election of a new Chairperson, Robert Balk (USA). 16 Feb 2009 By IPC

The two days of intensive work and co-operation among the Athletes’ Council were held at the IPC Headquarters on Friday and the Gustav Stresemann Institute (GSI) on Saturday.

Attendees at the Athletes’ Council meeting included Ljiljana Ljubisic (CAN), Robert Balk (USA), Teresa Perales (ESP), David Smetanine (FRA), Marketa Sidkova (CZE), Eskil Hagen (NOR), Heinz Frei (SUI), Katarzyna Rogowiec (POL), Yu Chui Yee (HKG) and Rania Elwani (IOC Representative).

The Athletes’ Council began with a general orientation for the new members, followed by an overview on IPC governance, structure and management. Presentations by each department of the IPC at the Headquarters provided detailed information about the organization.

The GSI became the centre for elections of the Council, with the new Chairperson elected, and Teresa Perales becoming the new Athlete Representative to the European Paralympic Committee. An Election Task Force for the Vancouver 2010 Athletes’ Council Elections was also appointed, which included Teresa Perales, Yu Chui Yee, and David Smetanine as Chairperson.

Discussions on various outreach activities for the upcoming year, and a look back at statistics from the Beijing Games concluded the afternoon.

The IPC Athletes’ Council (AC) is the collective voice of Paralympic athletes within the IPC and the greater Paralympic Movement. As the liaison between the IPC decision-makers and Paralympic athletes, the IPC AC works to provide effective input into decision-making at all levels of the organization. The Council is composed of nine Paralympic athlete representatives elected for a four-year term. Six athlete representatives are elected during the Paralympic Summer Games and three during the Paralympic Winter Games.

Robert Balk is a multiple Paralympian who has competed in a total of six different Paralympic Games. His last competition was in Cross-Country Skiing at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.

For more information about the Paralympic Movement, please visit