Irish hockey gets Olympic cash boost

THE Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has announced that Irish hockey will benefit from a special one-off grant of $85,000 (€65,000) aimed at helping qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The grant comes from the Olympic Solidarity arm of the International Olympic Committee, a body responsible for dispensing a share of the television rights of the Games in order to provide financial assistance at national levels for the development of sport.

OCI chief Dr Stephen Martin said that 2007 would be an important year in gauging whether Irish hockey could step up to the challenge of qualifying for the Beijing Olympic Games. “We all want an Irish hockey team there, hopefully two. This is part of our ongoing work with the national federations and government agencies to ensure we have the best possible support in place for athletes and teams to qualify and perform well at the Olympics.”

Irish Hockey chief Paul Varian said: “While the Irish Sports Council is responsible for the funding of our High Performance programme, this grant will provide vital additional support to our men’s and women’s squads in pursuit of their Olympic goals.”

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