COE and Telefónica renew the Podium scholarships for Paris 2024

The president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), Alejandro Blanco, and the executive president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, have signed this Thursday the renewal of the Podium scholarship program, which will continue to allow promising young national sports to improve their preparation conditions during the Olympic cycle until Paris 2024.

The presentation of the agreement was held at the Telefonica headquarters, where numerous athletes with a Podium scholarship, including Marcus Cooper, Alberto Ginés, Ray Zapata and Adriana Cerezo, all Olympic medalists at the recent Tokyo Games.

Cooper, who also won gold at Rio 2016, was the first Podium recipient to win an Olympic medal five years ago in Brazil. “I arrived in Rio de Janeiro and what happened happened. I used the resources of Podium to the full and in the end they were worth it. This program is an example at a national and international level, I do not know if all countries are lucky enough to live these initiatives “, thanked the canoeist.

The Podium program started in 2014 with 80 athletes, of which 22 qualified for the Rio Games, and a total of 281 athletes have already passed through it. that have benefited from 768 scholarships to which Telefónica has allocated 10.8 million euros. For the Tokyo Olympic cycle, the balance was 56 classified athletes and six medals, includings Adriana Cerezo, who continues to “spin” her final lost in taekwondo.

“And I’m sure I’m going to continue doing it for a long time, it’s something that sticks with you. But in the end it’s a way to motivate myself for Paris and get there what I couldn’t in Tokyo. The Podium scholarships have been an impulse to be able to dream, that they put this trust in you without reaching change. It’s incredible support, “he said.

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Another young athlete who reached glory in Tokyo was Alberto Ginés, gold in climbing. “My next goals are the World Cup next year, the World Championship and then Paris 2024. The road to the next Olympic Games is difficult, that’s why I prefer to focus first on qualifying, “explained the Extremaduran.

For his part, the silver was the reward of the gymnast Ray Zapata, who acknowledged that “before the final he was very anxious.” “When I did it, I didn’t believe it because I was fulfilling a dream when I was little. In the end it came and I felt very fulfilled. To this day I still doubt it a little, but having the medal at home is difficult. The Podium scholarships are quite to blame for this success, “he said.

In addition, he also took the floor Álvarez-Pallete, who recalled the beginnings of the program and sent a message of encouragement to the athletes. “You do better to be company and you do better to this country. We continue towards Paris, this has just begun, so please keep making us better, “he asked.

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