Abbotsford’s Mariessa Pinto has been named one of 55 young Canadian athletes to receive a FACE program grant.                                 Photo courtesy COC

Abbotsford’s Mariessa Pinto has been named one of 55 young Canadian athletes to receive a FACE program grant. Photo courtesy COC

Abbotsford archer receives Olympic boost

Mariessa Pinto awarded a $10,000 FACE grant to help with Olympic journey

Abbotsford’s Mariessa Pinto and her skills with a bow and arrow were recognized in a big way earlier this month.

Pinto was recently named one of 55 young Canadian athletes from both summer and winter sports selected by Petro-Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee 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.

Pinto, 21, began in the sport of archery at the age of nine, and started her international career at the Pan-Am Championships in 2018.

She finished 17th in the individual recurve competition at that event and became eligible to compete there after a ninth-place finish at the Pan American Games’ primary qualification tournament in Columbia.

She was ranked the number one junior women’s recurve archer in Canada and a top-three-ranked senior women’s archer in 2018.

She also placed seventh individually and won bronze as part of the Team Canada women’s recurve team at the 2019 Pan American World Ranking event.

Pinto currently lives in Abbotsford, while balancing training, a part-time job and full-time post-secondary studies at Simon Fraser University.

Past recipients of the FACE grant include Natalie Wilkie (para cross country ski), Mac Marcoux (para alpine ski) and Rosie MacLennan (gymnastics) – all of whom earned medals for Canada at the most recent Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Developed by Petro-Canada, the 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.