The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) has expressed its gratitude to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which has increased financial support of athletes that are hoping to be part of the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan in 2021.
In response to the specific needs incurred by the postponement of the Games, the IOC's Olympic Solidarity Fund has increased its worldwide budget from USD $46.7m TO USD $57m.
This additional budget of USD 10.3m will allow Olympic Solidarity to make available additional funds relating to exceptional Games-related costs incurred by NOCs due to the postponement of the Tokyo Games. These additional funds will be available to NOCs based on their application.
This decision will allow NOCs to sustain additional costs that might occur in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games, now to be staged in 2021.
FASANOC's Sports Development Manager Lyndall Fisher said funding under the Olympic Solidarity program has been extended to National Federations who have athletes that are still vying for qualification and a spot at the Olympic Games in Japan.
"We are very pleased to have been advised that athletes who are recipients of the IOC Scholarship and still in the qualification phase have had their scholarships extended until the Games next year” she said.
Athletes who are currently IOC Scholarship recipients and receive a training grant include Eugene Vollmer (Athletics), Olympian Robert Elder (Archery), Tevita Takayawa (Judo), Olympian Matelita Buadromo and Epeli Rabua (Swimming).
"Team Fiji Women’s Rugby Sevens also receive a Team Support Grant from the IOC Olympic Solidarity program which supports their training camps and other related expenses," Lyndall said.
Olympian Sally Yee (Table Tennis) is another scholarship recipient through a joint IOC and Japan Table Tennis Association program.
"However the continuation of Sally's scholarship will depend on the IOC and the Japan Table Tennis Association," Lyndall said.The safety of athletes training in Japan knowing its current COVID-19 status is very much a determining factor in Sally’s case. She returned home to Fiji where she is currently training from home with family members.
IOC Athletics recipient Eugene Vollmer said he was grateful for the assistance from IOC which is driving him to achieve his dream of participating at an Olympic Games.
"Without this funding from Olympic Solidarity, I don't think I would be able to achieve much.
"Funding has allowed me to purchase training equipment to use at home, which has been really helpful in getting me fit and at a level where I can compete," Eugene said.
Olympian swimmer Matelita Buadromo said the Olympic Solidarity Funding has allowed her the chance to also be competitive by purchasing training and competition equipment and clothing.
The IOC Subsidies for Participation in the Olympic Games is also another Olympic Solidarity programme. It assists in helping the NOCsto take part in the Olympic Games, promoting universality and guaranteeing the participation of all 206 NOCs in the Olympic Family.
The subsidies assist with travel expenses to the Games and accommodation costs during the Games for athletes, team officials and NOC officials, as well as helps towards Games-related operational expenses.
The decision to increase the Olympic Solidarity budget dedicated to NOCs’ participation in the Olympic Games follows the confirmation of the supplementary budget of USD 15m needed to extend to 2021 the Olympic Solidarity athlete programmes, which cover 1,600 athletes from 185 NOCs.
The Olympic Solidarity athlete programmes extended until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are:
• Olympic Scholarships for Athletes Tokyo 2020;
• Team Support Grants; and
• Refugee Athlete Support.
The preparation of the new Olympic Solidarity 2021-2024 quadrennial plan, which will take into account the NOCs’ needs in this new context, is currently ongoing, and will be announced by the end of 2020.
The Games Participation Budget for Tokyo 2020 was based on the traditional three-way partnership between the Fiji Government, FASANOC and the National Federations, with FASANOC and the National Federations relying on the support of the IOC, the corporate community and fundraising efforts. Both FASANOC and the National Federations are fully aware of the challenges currently faced by the corporate community in the face of COVID-19 and the hardships that will impact on fundraising efforts. FASANOC is currently reviewing Team Fiji’s Participation Budget for Tokyo 2020 taking into account the difficulties being faced by all stakeholders.