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Talent alone is not always enough for some to achieve their dreams and compete at the highest level. Olympic Solidarity, through its Youth Olympic Games programme, consisting of identification, qualification and training options, is a valuable source of support, which enabled a number of promising young athletes not only to compete at the Youth Olympic Games, but also to win medals!
Such is the story of swimmer Marcelo Acosta (ESA), wrestler Dulguun Bolormaa (MGN) and judoka Rotislav Dashkov (KGZ). All three walked away from Nanjing 2014 with a silver medal in their respective disciplines - men’s 400m freestyle swimming, women’s freestyle wrestling (category 46 kg) and men’s Judo -100 kg.
Swimming from the age of five and showing great promise, 18-year-old Marcelo was nominated by his National Olympic Committee (NOC) and was granted a YOG Olympic Solidarity preparation grant, enabling him to follow a training programme in Florida. The support and hard work certainly paid off, as with his YOG silver medal still around his neck, El Salvador’s young rising star is already setting his sights on Rio 2016!
Dulguun’s wrestling journey began only four years ago. The Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holder decided to take up the sport after being inspired by a fellow Mongolian female athlete who medalled twice at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games in wrestling and gymnastics.
Thanks to Olympic Solidarity’s identification programme, Kyrgyzstan’s talented judoka had the unique opportunity to be one of 350 athletes and coaches to take part in the International Judo Federation’s youth training camp in Switzerland, last July, prior to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. A chance to hone those skills which secured the 16-year-old a YOG silver medal!
For the Nanjing YOG, Olympic Solidarity, in addition to providing assistance to 116 NOCs for the identification of young athletes, and to 108 NOCs for YOG qualification events, made 361 preparation grants available to promising qualified young athletes. This programme offers NOCs technical and financial assistance to identify talented athletes and support them all the way through to their YOG participation. The examples of Marcelo, Dulguun and Rotislav are proof that this support offered by Olympic Solidarity is not only helpful but crucial in identifying young and talented people across the world and supporting them in their development.
Want to learn more about Olympic Solidarity? Check out: www.olympic.org/olympic-solidarity