By Paul Osborne

Six Fijian athletes have been awarded IOC scholarships in their bid for Rio 2016 qualification ©FASANOCThe Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee has announced that six athletes will receive Olympic Solidarity scholarships as they bid to qualify for Rio 2016. 

Leslie Copeland, Ratu Banuve Tabakaucoro, Younis Bese, Robert Elder, Josateki Naulu and Apolonia Vaivai have all be named as recipients of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Scholarships for Athletes Rio 2016.

For Copeland this is the second time he has received the IOC scholarship having been assisted by the IOC from 2010 to 2012, prior to London 2012 Olympic Games where he competed in the javelin. 

Fellow athletes Tabakaucoro and Bese receive the award for the first time as they look to make their debuts at the Olympic Games, while Elder, who competes in archery, and Naulu, a judoka, also receive the scholarship for the first time.

They had both competed at London 2012. 

Vaivai was put forward for the scholarship by the Fijian Weightlifting Federation following her Commonwealth Games bronze medal at Glasgow 2014. 

Apolonia Vaivai secured weightlifting bronze at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ©Getty ImagesApolonia Vaivai secured weightlifting bronze at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

The Rio 2016 scholarship programme is a unique opportunity for athletes to benefit from technical and financial support from IOC Olympic Solidarity, as well as from the whole of the Olympic Movement.

Benefits that athletes on the programme can acquire include: specialised training; high-level sports facilities; a coach specialised in their particular discipline; assistance for regular medical and scientific monitoring; full-board accommodation; and a qualification travel subsidy to participate in Olympic qualification events.

The Fiji athletes have been selected by the IOC as international-level athletes and have been assessed in consultation with the relevant International Federations as having a sufficient technical level to be able to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games.

The scholarship remains conditional until the athlete has qualified for Rio 2016, and as soon as qualification is obtained, the scholarship is confirmed until the Rio Games.

During their training process, each athlete is eligible for $1,200 (£765/€966) per month to support them in training and living expenses.

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