Kurt Fearnley has been elected as the new vice-chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council ©Getty Images

Multi-Paralympic and world champion Kurt Fearnley has been elected as the new vice chairperson of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council.

The Australian wheelchair racer was chosen to replace The Netherlands' sitting volleyball player Elvira Stinissen, who resigned from her position in May due to personal reasons.

A three-time Paralympic champion in the T54 category, Fearnley will serve in the position until December 2022.

He will join chairperson Chelsey Gotell as well as six elected members, three co-opted members and a representative from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission.

"It's a privilege to continue the progress that the IPC Athletes' Council has been undertaking over the years through this new role," said Fearnley.

"Elvira had been a great vice chairperson and I hope I can fill the role to the best of my ability.

"I hope to be able to continue the work in engaging with our fellow athletes and bringing that voice into the organisation. 

"I've been amazed at the work ethic of our current chair Chelsey.

Kurt Fearnley replaced Elvira Stinissen who resigned in May due to personal reasons ©IPC
Kurt Fearnley replaced Elvira Stinissen who resigned in May due to personal reasons ©IPC

"I'm continually impressed with how the entire IPC under President Andrew Parsons has reinvigorated the engagement and amplified the athlete voice through the development of Athlete Forums and the continued engagement through online meetings with athlete representatives worldwide.

"It's more important now than ever to come together as athlete representatives in our National Paralympic Committees, Regional Committees and our specific sports representatives to ensure we learn and grow together over this incredibly challenging time."

Fearnley won two of his Paralympic titles at Athens 2004 in the 5,000 metres and the marathon, and defended his marathon title at Beijing 2008.

"I am delighted that Kurt has been elected vice chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council as he is a Paralympian who brings so much calming experience, knowledge and passion to everything he does," said Gotell.

"Kurt has championed the rights of para-athletes throughout his entire career and this new role will help him to continue doing this.

"I would also like to thank Elvira for eight years of wonderful service to the IPC Athletes' Council, six of which she spent as vice-chairperson."

The IPC Athletes' Council is the voice of the Paralympic athletes within the IPC and the larger Paralympic Movement, with the group liaising with the IPC to provide input into decision-making within the organisation.