A total 16 triathletes have been awarded “London 2012” Olympic Scholarships by the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity’s World Programme Fund.
This is the largest number of awards in ITU’s history as an Olympic sport. The recipients include eight men and eight women from National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that meet the Olympic Solidarity aims.
Olympic Solidarity aims to offer assistance to all NOCs, but in particular those with the greatest needs to allow them to develop their own structures to favour the expansion of sport in their countries. Olympic Scholarships for Athletes “London 2012” is a key mission of the Olympic Solidarity programme in order to allow talented athletes to prepare for the London Summer Olympic Games.
The athletes nominated by Olympic Solidarity come from countries as diverse as Barbados, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovakia, Denmark, Chile, Bermuda, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ireland, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Namibia, and Monaco. But they all have something in common in that they have been identified by their own NOCs as potential stars on the international triathlon scene.
Namibian Abrahm Louw is the youngest recipient at 18 years of age, but not necessarily the least experienced as he competed in the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last year, giving him his first Olympic experience. He finished 5th in the men’s race and is now aiming for London 2012.
While the goal for most of the athletes is to qualify for London, some of the triathletes can already be considered strong medal contenders. Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz established herself as one of the sport’s new stars when she beat Emma Moffatt and Andrea Hewitt in the opening round of the world championship series in Sydney last year.
Ireland’s Aileen Morrison also showed she is one to watch when she made the podium in the world championship series event in Hamburg in 2010. Her bronze medal was also the first ever elite podium for Ireland in an ITU event.
Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC Member, said she was proud to see such a large number of Olympic Solidarity Scholarships being awarded to triathletes affording them the opportunity to focus on preparing for London.
“Triathlon is one of the fastest growing Olympic sports and athletes are emerging from every corner of the world,” she said. “Global sport development has always been one of our main aims which is in keeping with the spirit of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Programmes, and today I am extremely pleased to see these athletes being helped on their way to international and Olympic success. The ITU is committed to further developing the sport; in particular because we believe triathlon promotes the Olympic ideals, and through the Olympic programme, can help sport reach more people throughout the world.”
Libby Burrell, ITU Development Director, thanked both the Olympic Solidarity fund and the NOCs for helping to recognise and support the next generation of Olympic triathletes.
“Sport development is all about athletes being given opportunities to maximise their potential,” she said. “Olympic Solidarity Scholarships have made this possible in the past for many young triathletes and this year we will see the largest ever group of triathletes reap the benefits of this wonderful programme. ITU is extremely grateful to Olympic Solidarity for recognising the triathletes nominated by their NOCs for these scholarships.”
A full list of the 16 athletes is below:
Jason WILSON (BAR), Vendula FRINTOVA (CZE), Elizabeth Maria BRAVO INIGUEZ (ECU), Elizabeth MAY (LUX), Ryan SISSONS (NZL), Richard VARGA (SVK), Helle FREDERIKSEN (DEN), Bárbara RIVEROS DIAZ (CHI), Tyler Barbour BUTTERFIELD (BER), Flora Jane DUFFY (BER), Stojan POPOVSKI (MKD), Aileen MORRISON (IRL), Leonardo CHACÓN CORRALES (CRC), Yuliya YELISTRATOVA (UKR), Abrahm LOUW (NAM), Hervé BANTI MON (MON).
For further information about the Olympic Solidarity, please click here to go to Olympic.org.