Forrester Osei, the chairman of the IWF Athletes' Commission, came up with the scholarships idea ©Getty Images

Ten weightlifters from around the world will be given financial support in their effort to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

Pyrros Dimas, a triple Olympic champion, and Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Maude Charron will be among those who select the lucky ten.

The support comes from the International Weightlifting Federation's (IWF) athlete scholarships programme, launched with $30,000 (£24,000/€27,500) of funding - $5,000 (£4,000/€4,500) of which is a personal donation from the governing body's president Mohammed Jalood.

Forrester Osei, chair of the IWF Athletes' Commission who came up with the scholarships idea, said: "It's good for the athletes to know their own President is doing his best to support them, and we really appreciate that."

The IWF Executive Board has agreed to support the scholarships project with limited funding from July until the Paris Olympics next year.

"Our aim is to give practical support to those who most need it, to help them travel to compete and to help them prepare in the best facilities they can find," said Osei.

"We are well aware that a few hundred dollars goes a long way in some parts of the world, and we really want to help those athletes who most need it."

IWF President Mohammed Jalood is donating some of his own money to the project ©IWF
IWF President Mohammed Jalood is donating some of his own money to the project ©IWF

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must have participated in at least one Olympic qualifying competition, or be entered in one, before the application deadline of May 31.

Only those ranked in the top 25 of their weight category in the IWF Olympic qualifying rankings, and with a clean doping record, will be considered.

Restricting candidates to those ranked in the top 25 will exclude many who might have applied but, said Osei, "with limited funding we can only accommodate athletes with a good performance record".

The funding is a lot lower than Osei had hoped for when he first proposed awarding scholarships late last year, suggesting monthly payments of $500 (£400/€460) over a longer period.

"Eventually our goal is to support more athletes to help them reach their hopes and dreams," he said.

Sponsors will be sought for future support.

Precise details will be agreed at a meeting next week and information on how to apply should be available by April 18, said Osei.

Scholarships will be awarded to athletes from nations with a lower than average GDP and per capita income.

There will be three payments of $1,000 (£805/€915) starting in July and made every four months, subject to ongoing review - and the money will go direct to the athletes rather than their national federation.

Triple Olympic champion Pyrros Dimas will be among those selecting the recipients ©Getty Images
Triple Olympic champion Pyrros Dimas will be among those selecting the recipients ©Getty Images

The aim is to select one male and one female from each of the five continental federations, with no more than one in any weight category.

Two members of the IWF Athletes' Commission - Osei from Ghana and Charron from Canada - will sit on the selection panel alongside IWF Board member Dimas and an independent adviser.

Dimas is the most decorated weightlifter in Olympic Games history with three gold medals for Greece in 1992, 1996 and 2000, plus a bronze on his farewell in Athens in 2004.

He is now performance director for USA Weightlifting.

The scholarship programme will also support an initiative to help keep athletes in the sport as coaches or technical officials.