Four athletes have been nominated to be part of IWBF’s first ever Athlete Steering Committee with the aim to establish an elected Athlete Commission.

The four athletes, Erica Gavel (Canada), Ella Sabljak (Australia), Alhassan Sedky (Egypt), and Carina De Rooij (Netherlands), were put forward by their respective zones and will form the initial Athlete Steering Committee.

Nominated from the European Zone is World Champion and captain of the Netherlands Carina De Rooij; joining her from the Asia Oceania Zone will be Ella Sabljak, who has represented Australia at both U25 and senior level; Africa Zone’s Alhassan Sedky is an Egyptian National team player who has played in a number of leagues across the world; completing the quartet is Canada’s Erica Gavel, who already sits on the Canadian Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council, as the Americas Zone representative.

The aim of the Athlete Steering Committee will be to guide IWBF’s Commission for Legal Matters & Eligibility (CLME) in establishing and institutionalising a common voice for IWBF athletes in the governance of the sport. The group will have to consider a number of topics such as how to establish and elect a future Athlete’s Commission, how the Commission shall be composed, and what duties they shall carry.

With input from the Steering Committee, it will be CLME’s responsibility to draft new General Statutes and Internal Regulations for IWBF that embed the voice of players. A draft of which will be presented to the IWBF Congress in 2022 for approval by its members.

IWBF’s President, Ulf Mehrens, said:

“It is vital that we take the next steps to formally make the athlete’s a part of IWBF’s decision-making process to ensure we are best able to represent and protect the interests of athletes. We are delighted to have four highly qualified and knowledgeable athletes who are willing to give up their own time in order to help shape the future of the Athlete’s Commission and make our sport and events even better. As well as representing different countries and cultures, they bring understanding from a diverse range of differing backgrounds. We are really proud to be making this historic milestone in the sport and look forward to working with them.”

IWBF’s CLME Commission member, Gabriel Zangenfeind, who has worked for both FIBA and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and has an extensive background in sport management with a focus in anti-doping and sport legal matters, will be responsible for overseeing the Steering Committee and facilitating the project.

IWBF will be releasing a short interview with each of the four athletes on the committee over the next week.