It was a celebration galore when five Sierra Leone athletes were presented with Olympics Solidarity Scholarship cash by Sierra Leone National Olympics Committee (SL NOC).
The five have been awarded Olympic Solidarity cash to take part in high performance training camps, which are recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Staff from the NOC SL applied on the athletes’ behalf to the scheme and have been told they were successful.
Four of the athletes are from track and field – Margret Venessa Barrie, Hafisatu Sahid Kamara, Famata Awolo and Noah Conteh. They are joined by freestyle wrestler Foday Kargbo.
NOC SL President Dr. Patrick Coker presented the five athletes with their scholarships.
To make success at the Olympics Games achievable by everyone, and so, every Olympic cycle, a substantial portion of the profits from the Games is allocated through the National Olympic Committees directly to helping athletes and coaches from countries with the greatest financial need, as part of the Olympic Solidarity programme. This is particularly vital in the modern sporting world, in which talent and determination alone are not enough to reach the top. High-level coaching, preparation and the ability to travel to competitions are also required.
Because of this, as part of the latest Olympic Solidarity Plan – which runs from 2017 to 2020 – more than half a billion dollars is being spent on various global and continental programmes going towards athlete development and coaches’ education to make the Olympic Games more accessible across the globe. Part of this money is used to fund the Olympic scholarship programmes, which provide athletes in need with a monthly training grant as well as travel subsidies to compete in Olympic qualification competitions.