FINA, aquatics’ international governing body, has announced a Covid-19 funding package of more than $6 million for athletes due to compete at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year.
The support plan is made up of three separate programmes, with $4 million going to 160 national federations to help with training, competition and living expenses.
A further $2 million will be paid to athletes who participate in the FINA Scholarship Programme, either at FINA training centres or at facilities in their own countries.
Thirdly, grants of $460,000 will be paid to the five continental organisations to provide athletes with supplemental resources.
FINA said: “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, which strong emphasis on direct assistance to athletes.”
The Scholarship Programme is set to include 100 athletes from countries which do not currently have an Olympic qualifying standard, with 80 swimming and 20 divers picked to intensively train at FINA centres in Senegal, Thailand, Russia and USA.
Each athlete will be eligible for $2,000 per month for living and training expenses.
Julio Maglione, FINA president, said: “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.
“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.”
Last week, the International Olympic Committee listed FINA among the Olympic sports bodies that have received a loan from the IOC to help it through the coronavirus pandemic.
The IOC also revealed it has already allocated $63 million to international federations and $37 million to national Olympic committees for a total $100 million in aid so far.
In May, FINA rescheduled next year’s World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan to 2022 to avoid a clash with the postponed Tokyo Olympics.