The official medals of the Sapporo 2017 Asian Winter Games have been revealed ©Sapporo2017

Organisers of the eighth Asian Winter Games, due to be held in the Japanese city of Sapporo next year, have unveiled the official medals of the competition.

The medals were designed by Kaoru Kasai, one of Japan's leading art directors who was born in Sapporo, and Tomohiro Nakayama, a designer at SUN-AD.

Each medal is 55 millimetres in diameter and 4.5mm thick.

Made from gold-plated silver, the gold medal is the heaviest, weighing 109.1 grams.

The silver medal weighs 107.1g while the bronze is the lightest of the three at 87.9g.

According to the designers, the three stars are curved on the diamond-cut surface to represent ice.

The three stars also represent athletes as “Stars of Hope” who will shine at Games.

It was also said that the diamond-cut surface represents "clear air of winter, sparkling snow and ice in Hokkaido."

Earlier this month it was confirmed that thirty-one National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will send teams to the Games.

The three stars are to represent ice ©Sapporo2017
The three stars are to represent ice ©Sapporo2017

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.