Extra funding for athletes preparing for Paris 2024 and Milan Cortina 2026 has been announced by the Olympic Federation of Ireland ©Getty Images

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) has added €50,000 (£44,000/$54,000) to its "Make a Difference" athlete fund, which is set to benefit 32 athletes in their preparations for the next Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

The Make a Difference fund aims to assist athletes with costs within their daily performance environment, and the additional funding adds to an initial €65,000 (£57,300/$70,100) for a total of €115,000 (£101,400/$124,000).

It was particularly targeted at athletes who could show how it would make a difference in their efforts to qualify for Paris 2024 or Milan Cortina 2026.

Funding has so far benefitted athletes in 16 sports.

For Paris 2024, boxer Gráinne Walsh has received €7,000 (£6,200/$7,500) and heptathlete Kate O'Connor €6,000 (£5,300/$6,500), with €5,000 (£4,400/$5,400) going to boxer Gary O'Donovan, swimmer Daniel Wiffen and badminton pair Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds.

Funding had additionally been provided to athletes in rowing, cycling, sailing, shooting, surfing, triathlon and weightlifting.

Irish heptathlete Kate O'Connor was awarded €6,000 in Make a Difference funding by the OFI ©Getty Images
Irish heptathlete Kate O'Connor was awarded €6,000 in Make a Difference funding by the OFI ©Getty Images

In total, €93,000 (£82,000/$100,300) has been used for athletes preparing Paris 2024 and €22,000 (£19,400/$23,700) for Milan Cortina 2026.

For the next Winter Olympics, cross-country skier Thomas Maloney Westgård was awarded €7,000, with five athletes across bobsleigh and skeleton, luge, short track speed skating and Alpine skiing granted €3,000 (£2,600/$3,200) each.

OFI Athletes' Commission chair Shane O’Connor welcomed the funding initiative.

"There are a huge number of athletes across a huge number of sports vying for Olympic qualification across the sports," he said.

"The quality and depth of applications received were very impressive and highlighted that a little extra support to the athletes can really make a huge difference.

"We are happy as an Athletes' Commission to be able to support this fund, with the backing of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and the Make a Difference golf fundraiser."

Ireland's Paris 2024 Chef de Mission Gavin Noble underlined the importance of OFI funding for athletes.

"I know first-hand the huge personal commitment it takes from an athlete to succeed, both emotionally and financially," he said.

"The strength and depth of applications that were received demonstrated how supporting tangible projects can make a huge difference in the athletes’ lives, and ultimately their performance.

"We are very happy to support a range of initiatives, from additional specialist coaching to supporting an individual coach’s travel to events or to fund the addition of a training partner to add depth to a training environment.

"We are looking forward to showcasing some of these stories in the coming months."

Ireland has competed at every Summer Olympic Games since Paris 1924, except Berlin 1936.

It earned two gold and two bronze medals at Tokyo 2020, its best performance since Atlanta 1996.