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Diaspora sports foundation launches fund for Salone athletes

May 3, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.

Sierra Leone Diaspora Sports Foundation has launched an effort to provide funding support for the country’s international and local athletes, to enable them compete in international tournament.

According to International Representative of the Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA), Leslie Koroma, who is based in Texas, USA, the move is a way to contribute towards the success of Sierra Leone athletics.

He said: “This is also to support some grassroots sports initiatives in Sierra Leone through the Team Salone Project. Sierra Leone has never had a system in which it caters for its athletes by providing financial stipends and logistical support for them in their day-to-day training, which will aid them in elevating their performance standards to a world class level.”

Koroma sees the launching of the Support Team Salone Project as a way to send a subtle message to Sierra Leoneans around the world that they have to take their destiny in their own hands and support the country as the foundation has been instrumental in recruiting a number of world class athletes for Sierra Leone over the past few months within the US NCAA Collegiate system.

“At the last count there are over 14 athletes who have committed to competing for Sierra Leone at the International level and counting. These athletes are either born to Sierra Leoneans living in the Diaspora or are of Sierra Leonean descent,” Koroma said, adding that Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone are encouraged to donate through a PayPal donation link at the top of the page on the Team Salone Website – www.teamsalone.com – or through the Go Fund Me link at the bottom of the page.

The SLAA International Rep said the donations would be used to set up a standing fund to support athletes in training for various international championships as well as support grassroots project in Sierra Leone.

He said: “To be more specific the standing fund will support the athletes by providing them with a monthly stipend as well as support for gym and track fees as well as physio, transportation and nutrition at the basic level or even more at an advanced level. Athletes will have to meet set standards to qualify for the support from the funds raised so as to guarantee quality control as well as continued sustenance and growth of the fund which will be there for years to come.”

He also revealed that there will be an annual audit of the fund to guarantee transparency and continued support by the public, and that the audit report would be published annually on the Team Salone website.

On grassroots initiative, Koroma said the fund will be used to help build capacity in many communities where there are no sports facilities, adding that there would be different undertakings from establishing sports fields and pitches to the purchase of some of the most basic equipment for use in various sports disciplines.

Koroma is also the Founder and CEO of African Sports TV website www.africansportstv.net and African Sports Monthly Magazine www.africansportsmonthly.com. He was once a national athlete himself.

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