The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Thursday (1 October) launched the application process for sports to be included in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, where a maximum of seven sports can be included.
Currently there are six sports on the programme for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling.
As part of the application process, IPC recognised International Federations, together with those international federations with sports on the PyeongChang 2018 programme, have until 1 March 2016 to complete the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games Sport Programme Application.
The application outlines a number of eligibility conditions, in accordance with the IPC Handbook, for which applicants must provide supporting written documentation in order to be considered for inclusion in the 2022 Games.
Some of the conditions include quadrennial competition programme, athlete classification, anti-doping programme, rules and regulations and sport governance. In terms of worldwide reach, for an individual sport to be included in the Winter Games it needs to be widely and regularly practised in a minimum of 12 countries in three regions. Team sports need to have at least eight widely and regularly practising member countries in three regions.
After an extensive review of the submissions, the IPC Governing Board will meet on 17 April 2016 to discuss all applications and issue recommendations to each International Federation for further action if necessary. The IPC Governing Board also has the option to confirm some sports for the 2022 Sport Programme at this meeting.
A final decision on the programme will be taken by the IPC Governing Board on 5 September 2016.
Xavier Gonzalez, IPC Chief Executive Officer, said: "The aim of this exercise is to ensure that the best possible sports in terms of athletes, Paralympic values, quality of global competition and reach are included in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. This is why we are asking all sports to meet a number of conditions of eligibility for inclusion."
"Although the IPC Governing Board has the option to include a seventh sport for the 2022 Games, they also have the ability to remove sports too. Our ultimate goal is to shape a competitive and attractive programme that will inspire and excite the world."
The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, in 1976 attracting 53 athletes from 16 countries who competed in two sports.
In 2014, the Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sochi and broke multiple records. Nearly 550 athletes from 45 countries competed in five sports. A cumulative audience of 2.1 billion watched around the world on television, whilst a record 316,200 attended the Games.