Jitske succeeds Canadian Chelsey Gotell, who was elected in 2017, to take over as Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council for the next three years.
Jitske is a three-time Paralympic medallist with the Netherlands Women’s wheelchair basketball team, having won bronze at London 2012 and Rio 2016, and gold at Tokyo 2020.
Discover more about the IPC Athletes’ Council and how it supports athletes across the Paralympic Movement, and hear from Jitske and Chelsey on their hopes for the future.
A four-time Paralympian and three-time Paralympic medallist in wheelchair basketball, Jitske Visser was the Netherlands’ youngest Paralympian at Beijing 2008, her first Games, aged just 15. Since then, she’s gone on to win bronze at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 with the Netherlands Women’s wheelchair basketball team, and most recently clinched gold at Tokyo 2020.
Now, she’s bringing her wealth of experience to the IPC Athletes’ Council, where she looks to build on the strong foundations set by predecessor Chelsey Gotell as the new Chairperson. Jitske has already attended her first IPC Governing Board meeting.
“Being elected as Chairperson is a huge honour to me. I am excited and proud to be representing the voice of the athletes. I’d like to thank Chelsey for her leadership and commitment as Chair of the Athletes’ Council. I am looking forward to building on the foundations and achievements of the Athletes’ Council and engaging with athlete representatives within the athlete community,” said Jitske.
I am excited and proud to be representing the voice of the athletes. I’d like to thank Chelsey for her leadership and commitment as Chair of the Athletes’ Council.
Cheering on from the sidelines
Chelsey was the Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council from 2017 to 2021, serving an extra year due to the postponement of Tokyo 2020. She led the Council during a difficult period amid the COVID-19 pandemic and steps away proud of what’s been achieved.
“The IPC Athletes’ Council has accomplished a significant amount over the last four and a half years. It has been an absolute honour to serve as Chair of the Athletes’ Council and be the athlete voice on the IPC Governing Board. I am proud to be stepping away from the group knowing that we have created a stronger foundation for the athlete voice within the IPC and the wider Paralympic movement,” said Chelsey.
“I am confident that Jitske as the new IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson and the rest of the Council will continue to progress the mandate of the Athletes’ Council in a meaningful way. I look forward to watching their progress and cheering them on from the sidelines over the coming years.”
The collective voice of Paralympians and para-athletes
The collective voice of Paralympic and para-athletes within the IPC and the greater Paralympic Movement, the IPC Athletes’ Council is comprised of nine elected athlete representatives who frequently liaise with the IPC Governing Board to ensure that para-athletes’ best interests and needs are heard, understood, and acted on. All Athletes’ Council members are active Paralympic athletes.
The nine elected members can also invite three additional members to join the Council on two-year terms, helping to ensure that there is greater balance between gender, regions, sports, and disability groups. An election will be held at Beijing 2022 for three new winter sport athlete positions.
Further to this, Jitske, as Chairperson, will be an ex-officio member of the IPC Governing Board with voting rights, and she will also be put forward by the IPC to join the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
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