Abbotsford – Mariessa Pinto’s Olympic dream just got a major boost.
The Fraser Valley archer, from Abbotsford, was named this week as one of 55 young Canadian athletes from both summer and winter sports selected by Petro-Canada, the COC and CPC to receive a Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence (FACE) Program grant. These athletes and their coaches are awarded a $10,000 FACE grant to help them with their journey ($5,000 directly to the athlete and $5,000 to their coach). FACE grants are often used for training, equipment and travel expenses.
Past recipients include Natalie Wilkie (Para Cross Country ski), Mac Marcoux (Para Alpine Ski) and Rosie MacLennan (Gymnastics) – all who earned medals for Canada at the most recent Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Pinto placed 17th in the individual recurve competition at the 2018 Pan American Championships, her first senior-level international championship. She became interested in archery at the age of 9 and started shooting through a local community run program. Eleven years later, with several provincial titles and national recurve titles under her belt, she now balances her national team training with a part time job and studies at Simon Fraser University.
Developed by Petro-Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), and facilitated by their National Sport partners, the FACE Program supports up-and-coming athletes when they need it most: when they are striving to represent Canada at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but don’t yet qualify for government funding. Recipients are selected based on potential. The funding is courtesy of Petro Canada.
Since 1988, FACE grants have supported more than 3,000 athletes and coaches by providing more than $11,000,000 in financial support.
In addition to providing financial support, FACE athletes and coaches are invited to an annual summit to learn from Olympians and Paralympians, and receive advice on media training, public speaking, and personal-brand development.