LAUSANNE: FINA has announced a global COVID-19 support plan in excess of $6 million to assist athletes who will compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games next summer, through three distinctive programmes:
• $4m in grants for a minimum of 160 National Federations to provide support to athlete training, competition, and living expenses.
• $460,000 in grants to the five Continental Organisations to enable supplemental resources to athletes.
• $2m to athletes selected to participate in the FINA Scholarship Programme, either at FINA Training Centres or at National Federation training facilities.
FINA president Dr Julio C Maglione, with the full support of the FINA Bureau, outlined a comprehensive programme to support elite athletes with medal prospects, as well as universality athletes from developing countries.
“The primary objective of this programme is to provide direct assistance to athletes preparing to compete in Tokyo. FINA recognises the importance of support to all athletes, including elite athletes with medal prospects, as well as less experienced athletes from developing countries trying to attain Olympic qualifying standards,” said Dr Maglione.
FINA has created and augmented these programmes to express its unwavering commitment to aquatic athletes who continue to endure hardships related to their training and competitive opportunities due to the pandemic. Previously, FINA made an extraordinary commitment to redistribute over a four-year period a substantial portion of its Olympic-related revenue. However, because so many previous plans by the National Federations and Continental Organisations cannot take place due to travel restrictions, FINA has enabled a high level of flexibility in utilisation of its financial support, with strong emphasis on direct assistance to athletes.
Additionally, the FINA Scholarship Programme will include 100 athletes from National Federations that do not currently have athletes with Olympic Qualifying Standards – 80 swimmers and 20 divers – and enable intensive training at FINA Training Centres in Senegal, Thailand, Russia, and the United States. Each athlete is eligible for up to $2000 monthly for living and training expenses, with world class coaches in outstanding facilities.
“FINA places great confidence and trust in the National Federations and Continental Organisations to develop creative and effective solutions for athletes who will compete in Tokyo. We have developed a simple and direct process for athletes to receive funding, and we know that this unprecedented level of financial support will enable aquatic athletes to reach their full potential,” concluded Dr Maglione.