Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 14, 2020: Five Sri Lankan athletes have been given a major boost after their Olympic Solidarity Scholarship was extended until the Tokyo Olympics next year.
The most decorated athlete at last December’s South Asian Games, swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe (seven golds and a silver medal), judoka Chamara Dharmawardhana (gold medal at the same Games), triple jumper Vidusha Lakshani, middle distance runner Gayanthika Abeyratne and weightlifter Thiwanka Palagasinghe will all continue to be funded by the IOC.
Abeysinghe and Dharmawardhana will receive US$1,000 per month while the other three will receive US$670 each, every month.
More than 1,600 athletes from 185 National Olympic Committees will benefit from this extended support for four programmes – Olympic Scholarship for Athletes Tokyo 2020, Team Support Grants, Refugee Athlete Support and Games Subsidies.
The Tokyo 2020 Games was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
Out of the five recipients, only swimmer Abeysinghe qualified and competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics while Dharmawardhana took part in judo as a wild card entry.
Olympic Solidarity was established by the IOC more than 50 years ago to assist all NOCs in areas such as athletes’ development and training for coaches and administrators while promoting Olympic values.
At the Rio Olympics, 101 medals (33 gold, 26 silver and 42 bronze) were won by athletes who received support from the IOC’s scholarship scheme.