Sapporo will host the Asian Winter Games next year ©Sapporo2017

More than 30 athletes from Australia will compete at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced.

The country will compete in all individual sports in the Japanese city except for ski jumping, with eight in figure skating and seven in short track speed skating.

It follows the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) allowing athletes from Oceania to compete under the OCA flag at the Games.

Their invitation followed a request by AOC President John Coates, who was keen to present athletes with more opportunities for high level competition.

Athletes from New Zealand and other Pacific Islands are also eligible to compete.

Australia will send a team of more than 30 to the Asian Winter Games ©Getty Images
Australia will send a team of more than 30 to the Asian Winter Games ©Getty Images

A number of restrictions have been placed on competitors from Oceania, however.

They will not be awarded medals, even if they finish in the top three positions, and have been prohibited from taking part in team competitions.

According to the OCA, they will be regarded as "guest athletes".

The development had been hailed by Australian officials as a boost for a number of the country's up-and-coming and established winter athletes, who will get the chance to test themselves against the best Asia has to offer.

Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 and will stage the eighth Asian Winter Games between February 19 and 26 next year.

A total of 2,617 athletes and officials have been registered so far.