The best of Asian winter sport will compete in Sapporo ©Getty Images

Thirty-one National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will send teams to the eighth edition of the Asian Winter Games in Japanese city Sapporo next year, it has been confirmed.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) revealed the entry list with action taking place between February 19 and 26.

Eleven disciplines will be contested across five sports - Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, freestyle skiing, snowboard, biathlon, speed skating, short track, figure skating, ice hockey and curling.

The sliding sports of bobsleigh, skeleton and luge are not on the schedule.

Hosts Japan will contest all 11 events, along with China, South Korea and Kazakhstan.

There will also be the added interest of athletes from Australia and New Zealand competing for the first time.

This follows an invitation to Oceania athletes by the OCA, after a request by Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates.

The idea is to give Australians and New Zealanders a further taste of high quality winter competition, but restrictions will be placed on them.

Athletes from Australia and New Zealand are eligible to compete ©YOG
Athletes from Australia and New Zealand are eligible to compete ©YOG

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

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

Australia will compete in every individual sport except for ski jumping, with New Zealand competing in speed skating and short track.

Kuwait, which remains suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to Government interference, are again poised to compete as Independent Olympic Athletes - just as they did at the Rio 2016 Games in August.

The country has entered a men's ice hockey team but no individual athletes.

The OCA's entry by name process will open tomorrow and run until January 19.

Sapporo also hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1972.

A full list of the countries entering, and in what sports, can be found here.