ANOCA approves 60M training grant for Olympic bound African athletes

By evelyn watta
Nov 24, 2021
  • David Rudisha, the 800m Olympic games champion could be among the athletes who could benefit from the grant.(Photo:SNA File)

PORT LOUIS, The Association of National Olympic Committees, ANOCA, has approved about Ksh. 60.7 million that will be dispersed amongst African athletes who will qualify for Rio 2016.

The money to be distributed through the respective selected National Olympic Committees will be used solely for training and preparations, to enhance the athletes’ chances of bagging medals in Brazil.

“The ANOCA Executive Committee meeting held a few days ago agreed to set aside this money as we seek to improve the results of African sportsmen and women during the Rio 2016 Olympic games,” said Lassana Palenfo who chaired the Executive Committee meeting on the weekend, preceding the ANOCA general Assembly that opened on Tuesday.

The decision followed a review of Africa’s past Olympics participation which identified technical and training challenges a decision that was accepted by the delegates attending the congress.

“Its too late to form a committee now that can have any impact at the Rio Olympics games,” argued Gideon Sam, the President of the South Africa Olympic Committee, soon after the announcement to the congress.

“We should take it in good faith and we shall trust the Executive to take the right decisions and leave the politics out,” noted Alhaji Momodou Dibba the head of the Gambian Olympic Committee.

"We are being  reproached for coming with this proposal. When we don't do any thing you reproach us. Yes are a few months away but it is not too late."

"That is why we said for a start we shall only help support the already qualified athletes by sending them to high perfomance centres and hire coaches who can train them ,"insisted Palenfo.

Tergat in the RIO 2016 ANOCA commission 

 The athletes to benefit from the grant will be identified by the ANOCA 2016 Rio commission headed by Kalkaba Malboum, the Confederation of African Athletics Federation president, that also includes retired Olympians and athletes.

It is still not clear which disciplines will be included besides Athletics, Boxing, Swimming and possibly football.

The members were identified based on the key Africa Olympic nations and will work with the international Federations to identify the probable qualifiers and top ranked athletes.

This will be funded by the Olympic solidarity funds from the International Olympic Committee.

The members include IOC members Kenya’s Paul Tergat, and Ethiopian Behrane Kidane Mariam, Hicham El Guerouj, double Olympic champion from Morocco, Amadou Diaba, member of the IOC athletes commission, Habu Gumel, the ANOCA Treasurer, Myriam Moyo, the president of the NOC of Zambia and Boussayene Meherez, the head of Tunisia NOC.

“This is a big thing and a step in the right direction. During my time I never received funding for my training prior to the Olympics. This will certainly boost performance,” said Tergat, who is attending the ANOCA General assembly in Port Louis.

Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa are expected who among them have won 69 gold medals in past editions of the Olympics Games.

The distribution of the funds especially amongst track and field athletes who form the bulk of medallists at the Olympics could be tricky, as they are normally selected in June and July just weeks to the games.