The National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) has officially launched its first-ever Athletes' Commission with a workshop at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka.
The workshop, facilitated by Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa Athletes' Commission member Kady Kanouté Tounkara, was also used to nominate the members and vote for the chairperson who will then sit on the NOCZ Executive Board.
Track and field athlete Suwilanji Mpondela was voted in as the chairperson, while the six members are fellow sprinter Sydney Siame, swimmer Ralph Goveia, basketball player Sipho Changwe, karateka Seth Sibanda and table tennis player Sebio Mukuka.
NOCZ President Alfred Foloko congratulated Mpondela and urged her to work closely with the Executive Board as she represents the athletes from the 25 National Federations affiliated to the organisation.
He claimed that the NOCZ is committed to ensuring athletes' voices are heard and experiences used for the improvement of sport.
Foloko also said that through the Olympic Solidarity, which aims to organise assistance for all the NOCs, the NOCZ has taken the initiative to create the Athletes' Commission for the period 2019-2020.
He stated that it will exist to safeguard athletes' interests, give advice and guide the NOCZ Board on matters that impact athletes and members of NOCZ National Federations.
The workshop attracted more than 15 athletes from over 10 National Federations.
Also in attendance was NOCZ secretary general Boniface Kambikambi and its executive director Brenda Chipande.
Athlete bodies, elected by their peers, are increasingly being seen as a measure of good practice within sporting organisations as they can bring competitors' interests to the fore.
The International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission is due to host the largest-ever gathering of athlete representatives at the International Athletes Forum in Lausanne from April 13 to 15.
All 206 NOCs have been invited alongside athlete bodies at International Federations, continental associations, Organising Committees, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the World Olympians Association and the International Paralympic Committee.