Marlin Swimming Club, Ballyshannon's Mona McSharry is one of 12 athletes who have been awarded Olympic Solidarity Scholarships to assist with qualification and preparations for the Tokyo 2020.
Each of the scholarship recipients will receive approximately €523 per month up until the Tokyo Olympic Games due to be held in August 2020.
Athletes will also receive additional funding up to a maximum of €4,180 to assist with travel costs in connection with competing at qualification events.
In order to be eligible, athletes must be competing at international level in an Olympic discipline that will feature at Tokyo 2020 and have the technical ability to qualify for the Games as demonstrated through recent results.
Swimmer Mona McSharry is the youngest recipient of the scholarship and rounds off a remarkable year for the 17-year-old, who won Ireland’s first-ever gold medal at the World Junior Swimming Championships in August.
McSharry — who was crowned as the Swim Ireland Performance Athlete of the Year — also won two gold and a silver at the European Junior Championships last summer.
The 12 athletes are:
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Athletics), Nhat Nguyen (Badminton), Liam Jegou (Canoeing), Mark Downey (Cycling), Ian O’Sullivan (Clay Pigeon Shooting), Cathal Daniels (Equestrian), Leona Maguire (Golf), Rhys McClenaghan (Gymnastics), Megan Fletcher (Judo), Denise Walsh (Rowing), Mona McSharry (Swimming) and Jack Woolley (Takewondo) are the recipients, along with the men’s hockey side.
The OCI submitted the application to the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity Fund on behalf of 12 Irish athletes, having first invited each of Ireland’s National Sporting Federations to nominate qualifying athletes from their individual sports.
OCI president Sarah Keane said: "Funding is crucial to performance sport which, by its nature given the international competition, not to mention travel, expert coaching, equipment and sport science and medicine involved, is resource intensive.
"We are delighted that we have secured funding from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Fund to support some of Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls and also that the OCI are in a position to invest some additional funds to bring the total."