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Olympic Scholarship for Sochi 2014: A Helping Hand to Olympic Hopefuls – Valya and Vita Semerenko, Ukraine, Biathlon

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Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

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Olympic Scholarship for Sochi 2014:

A Helping Hand to Olympic Hopefuls
Olympic Solidarity is the body that ensures that athletes with talent have an equal chance of reaching the Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena. It is responsible for administering and managing the National Olympic Committees’ (NOCs’) share of the revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games. Working in particular with disadvantaged NOCs and their Continental Associations, Olympic Solidarity uses this money to develop a range of assistance programmes. The current quadrennial plan, which runs from 2013 to 2016, has a development and assistance budget of USD 438 million – an increase of nearly 40% on the 2009-2012 budget. This is the second time that Winter Games athletes have received Individual Olympic Scholarships following the successful debut of the programme in the build-up to Vancouver in 2010, when 325 athletes (193 men and 132 women) from 60 NOCs benefited from Solidarity funding. Of these, 227 athletes qualified for the Games, winning 13 medals between them.

Valya and Vita Semerenko, Ukraine, Biathlon
Ukrainian twins Valya and Vita Semerenko have enjoyed individual and relay success on the world stage in biathlon, with both winning silver and bronze medals in the 2013 Biathlon World Championships, now the sisters are both hoping to add Olympic medals to their growing collection.

The twins have competed both with and against each other in the various biathlon events. “It is nice to have someone of your own blood close to you because biathlon is not an easy sport,” says Vita Semerenko. “You have both joyful moments and sad moments as well. When you feel sad you can cry on a family shoulder.”

Vita will be competing in her second edition of the Games in Sochi 2014 after placing 6th in the Relay event in Vancouver in 2010 whilst sister Valya, who was part of the same relay team also competed in the 15km Individual event in 2006 in Turin.

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