The Olympic Council of Ireland is to make €200,000 of funding grants available across 16 sports to assist with Olympic focused projects.

The grants are being made available to member National Governing Bodies with €20,000 going to Boxing, Cycling, Horse Sport, Rowing, Sailing and Swimming.

€10,000 in grants will go to Badminton, Judo, Ladies Golf, Rugby and Taekwondo with lesser amounts for Athletics, Basketball, Soccer, Hockey and Triathlon.

This allocation marks the first year of the programme, the purpose of which is to support specific Olympic based projects and programmes in addition to the scholarship programmes and funding that the OCI provides to support athletes and teams to compete in Olympic events.

The Discretionary Funding was aimed at providing support for projects across three main areas of development support, supprt in performance coaching and projects under a ‘Make a Difference banner.

Each application was reviewed and marked in line with weighted criteria set out as part of the application process, with direct correlation from scoring to funding.

A five-person review panel chaired by Chief Executive Officer of the Olympic Council of Ireland, Peter Sherrard, with Independent and Sport Ireland members, assessed and scored the applications before presenting these applications to a four-person sub-group from the OCI Executive Committee, which was independent to any of the applications.

“The number of applications clearly showed that there is a big need for increased funding for sport,” said Sherrard.

“This is being expressed by National Governing Bodies across the board. While the OCI support fund is relatively small, its targeted funding is intended to top-up or leverage existing high-performance funding going to NGB’s from Sport Ireland and other sources.”

“We intend to maintain this initiative next year and will continue to work closely with our member sports, their High-Performance programmes and athletes as we move through the Olympic cycle.”

The OCI received 34 applications from 22 sports, 10 for Performance Coach Support, 15 for Make a Difference Projects, and 9 for Olympic Development Support, for a combined total funding request of €800,000.

19 of the 34 applications were supported with grants ranging from €5,000 to €20,000 per National Governing Body. The Committee has contacted the 22 National Governing Bodies which applied to give feedback on the applications or to discuss implementation and planning for each of the projects.

Due to a specific Youth Olympic Games focus, the OCI will also be supporting Gymnastics Ireland and Tennis Ireland with Olympic Solidarity funding that they are eligible for.

The background to some of the specific projects which are aimed at helping Irish athletes maximise their potential will be featured in the coming months across the OCI’s web and social channels as they move towards implementation.