The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that it will conduct a review of qualification systems to strike the right balance over continental representation amid criticism following a lack of African athletes at the Winter Olympics here.

James Macleod, the IOC’s director of Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations, insisted that he did not believe the organisation needed comment on whether it was acceptable for just six athletes to represent the whole of Africa - which has a population of 1.3 billion.

Macleod suggested that changes could be made prior to the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo when the IOC discusses qualification processes with International Federations following the conclusion of Beijing 2022.

"The International Federations set the qualification rules for access to the Games," said Macleod.

"Whether it is for the Summer or Winter Games we need to work very closely with them to find that balance between attracting the best-level athletes and attracting representation from a diverse number of NOCs.

"After each Games, there is a review of the system as there was after Pyeongchang [2018] and there will be another one after these Games in Beijing where we will be looking forward to Milan-Cortina [2026] working with Athletes’ Commissions within the International Federations and NOCs to debrief on what is the best path to be achieved.

"That’s something the IOC will do systematically throughout."

There were a record 12 athletes from eight African nations at Pyeongchang 2018 but that figure has been slashed by half for Beijing 2022.

Alpine skiers Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda of Eritrea, Carlos Mäder of Ghana, Madagascans Mialitiana Clerc and Mathieu Neumuller and Moroccan Yassine Aouich competed in the Chinese capital as well as cross-country skier Samuel Ikpefan of Nigeria.

Asked whether six African athletes was an acceptable number for the IOC, Macleod added:  "I don’t believe that’s something the IOC needs to comment on.

"There are five continents representing here at the Beijing Games."

There are no African athletes competing in bobsleigh, skeleton or luge at Beijing 2022 with the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s (IBSF) decision to ditch continental quota spots proving a controversial move.

Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong, who participated in the men’s skeleton at Pyeongchang 2018, has called for the reinstatement of the quota to give African racers a better chance of reaching the Games.

Frimpong told insidethegames that he felt like Africans "don’t belong" at the Winter Olympics and urged the IOC to give them "a seat at the table" to discuss a way to increase the number of participants prior to Milan Cortina 2026.

The 36-year-old benefitted from an IOC Olympic Solidarity scholarship - a funding scheme that Macleod believes plays a key role in giving opportunities for African athletes.

"The Olympic Games have got to find the good balance between attracting the best athletes in the world and universal participation where that is possible," said Macleod.

"There is a difference between the Summer and Winter Games in terms of access to sport across the world and access to winter sport is a different ball game to some sports.

"We know there is unequal access but one of the things that the Olympic Solidarity does is provide pathways for that access to happen.

"An athlete from Africa or Oceania or all the five continents will need to be able to access the sport whether it is getting training, getting coaching, getting equipment and that is something that the Olympic Solidarity can provide.

"It is not something that we do in all NOCs but if the NOCs and athletes come through that pathway we are there to support them."