By Liam Morgan

The Nepal Olympic Committee has awarded scholarships to six of their most promising athletes ahead of Rio 2016 ©Nepal Olympic CommitteeSix scholarships have been awarded to promising athletes by the Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Swimmers Sophia Shah and Sirish Gurung, boxer Saraswati Rana, Nisha Rawal of taekwondo, athlete Sangeeta Rana and judoka Phupu Lahmu Khatri are the fourth batch of Nepalese athletes to be given the $670 (£440/€560) a month scholarship.

Director of the scholarship programme Rajiv Shrestha said the players will receive the amount until May 2016 - but warned the scholarships would be terminated if the athletes fail to make it to Rio.

"The amount will be handed to the association who will be responsible to spend in training its player," he told

"The scholarship will end if the players fail to qualify."

The six athletes have been chosen by the NOC and the respective associations but President Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan claimed there is still a chance others may be selected in future.

"We have selected the six players on the basis of their past performances," he said.

"It does not mean they are the only players with the prospect of representing Nepal in the Rio Olympics, the door is open for others as well."

Dachhiri Sherpa was the sole Nepalese athlete to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in SochiDachhiri Sherpa was the sole Nepalese athlete to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi ©Getty Images

While the news has been largely welcomed across the Asian nation's sports associations, Nepal Judo Association President Deepak Harsha Bajracharya believes the sum is not enough to provide foreign exposure.

"The scholarship will definitely help us make an early preparation but not sufficient to send the players for foreign training and international tournaments," he said.

The six chosen athletes follow in the footsteps of other Nepalese sportsmen and women who have been given a helping hand in their chances of Olympic qualification in the past.

Nepal had five competitors at the London 2012 Games across three disciplines - athletics, swimming and shooting.

The scholarship programme was also run in 2002, 2008 and 2010.

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