Sports associations affiliated to Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) stand to benefit from $500 000 (K385 million) which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allocated to MOC towards 2024 Paris Olympics.
This funding was approved during an IOC executive board (EB) meeting on November 15.
In a communication addressed to all national Olympic bodies which Weekend Nation has seen, IOC president Thomas Bach states that the funding and programmes are a priority to Olympic Solidarity’s direct beneficiaries—athletes and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
Reads part of the communique: “One important lesson that I hope we have all learnt from the current coronavirus crisis is that we need more solidarity. Solidarity is one of the key Olympic values which the Olympic community is actively promoting. This is a very strong demonstration in times of a worldwide crisis.”
The overall budget for IOC Olympic Solidarity programme from 2021 to 2024 has been pegged at $590 million.
IOC executive board chairperson Robin Mitchell said the funds, among others, are meant to empower NOCs to keep athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement through increased support for development programmes at all levels.
Said Mitchell: “We want to strengthen the Olympic Movement’s solidarity funding model by prioritising the principal Olympic Solidarity mission of focusing on NOCs with the greatest needs and ensuring effective communication of all streams of Olympic Solidarity funding by the NOCs, “
“It was also pointed out during the meeting that the decentralisation of a portion of the funds to the continental associations should be reinforced in order to develop sustained programmes responding to continental specificities.”
However, MOC administrative secretary Naomi Chinatu said the funds have to be earned by national associations through formulation of viable strategic plans.
She said: “All Olympic sport associations need to apply to access the funds through provision of viable plans or programme detailing what they want to achieve within a certain period in line with IOC needs. There should be a visible graph of progress in their activities. It’s not automatic that every affiliate will benefit. “
Chinatu said apart from a good outline of activities, the other conditions are financial prudence or accountability and an aspect of gender balance in all their programmes.
She said associations can benefit, among others, from team support, athletes scholarships and technical support programmes.
In the 2017-2020 IOC plan, the Malawi national women football team benefited from the team support grant but was knocked out of the Olympic qualifiers by Kenya.
In athletes scholarship programmes, archer Arenio Davis got a four-year scholarship to Hungary and judoka Harriet Boniface was also supposed to train in Switzerland, but couldn’t secure a place and has been training in the country on full IOC scholarship.
Chinatu said they have formed a technical commission within MOC that will be assessing associations’ plans and programmes and tracking their performances in the past four years.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) said they are ready to apply for a portion of the grant as they seek finances to develop athletes.
“We are always trying to come up with programmes and strategies that can help us. Currently, we are in the process of formulating a strategic plan for the 2024 Olympics.
“Recently, we had a national championship where we identified talent. We have names of athletes whom we think, if well nurtured, can develop into world-class, ” said AAM general secretary Frank Chitembeya.
Basketball Association of Malawi general secretary Peter Gomani said they are optimistic of meeting the set these conditions “simply because this is also what we are focusing on as an association.
“When we assumed office, we committed to the same for our affiliates and stakeholders in all our financial dealings. We aim to be transparent and regain any lost confidence. ”
Netball superstar Mwawi Kumwenda believes the country has potential to win medals in global tournaments if well funded.
She said: “There is no denying that we have talent in all sports disciplines. But we need to develop the talent and that can only be achieved through good funding and also hard work on the part of athletes.”