Being an athlete in Singapore is not easy, which is why they are rightfully lauded when they bring glory to the nation for their sporting achievements. However, para-athletes can sometimes be overlooked.
Thankfully, the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) has continued to push for more recognition for its para-athletes.
Recently, the council announced that Singapore’s para-athletes can expect to receive higher cash rewards for winning medals at major games.
This will be effective starting from the upcoming ASEAN Para Games, which will take place in Indonesia’s Solo City this month.
Speaking at the ASEAN Para Games flag presentation ceremony on Saturday (2 Jul), SNPC president Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang said that Singapore’s para-athletes will receive higher cash rewards for winning medals at most major sporting events.
The incentive is part of the Athletes Achievement Awards (AAA) scheme, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports. Dr Teo-Koh also thanked the Tote Board and DBS Bank for sponsoring the awards.
With the new scheme, the reward for winning a gold medal at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris will go up from S$400,000 to S$500,000.
For the upcoming ASEAN Para Games, individual athletes will now get S$5,000 instead of S$4,000 per gold medal, for up to three medals.
Those who score gold while competing in team events will receive S$8,000, an increase of S$2,000.
For next year’s Asian Para Games, the prize for individual gold medallists will go up to S$85,000 from S$70,000.
Winning gold in a team event will get athletes S$125,000 instead of S$100,000. A gold medal in team sports will come with a S$170,000 cash prize instead of S$140,000.
The Straits Times (ST) adds that there will also be an increase in the cash rewards for silver and bronze medallists at the Asian Para Games and Paralympics.
It also noted that this is the second time in 10 months that the cash incentive for a Paralympic gold medallist has gone up.
Last October, the cash reward for a Paralympic gold medal was doubled to S$400,000. This came after some called out a disparity in prizes following swimmer Yip Pin Xiu’s two successful title defences at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympian Games.
During the flag-presentation ceremony for the upcoming ASEAN Para Games, Dr Teo-Koh also shared that the council has continued to push for more recognition for its athletes,
It’s very important for athletes that they are recognised, that they are celebrated, for what they do in their sport. And so this would motivate our athletes, this would challenge them to give their very best.
25-year-old Paralympian Sophie Soon weighed in on the initiative, expressing her support for it to ST.
She shared that it was more than just an increase in monetary incentive, but an indication that the para-sports scene is becoming more prominent among the public.
The swimmer added that it would be a step in the right direction towards able-bodied and para-athletes being viewed as equal.
It’s heartening to see the authorities making moves to ensure our para-athletes are getting more recognition for their hard work.
After all, they are no different from able-bodied athletes who dedicate their lives to achieving excellence in their chosen sport.
We look forward to their performance at the upcoming ASEAN Para Games and other major sporting events in the future.
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Featured image adapted from Singapore National Paralympic Council on Facebook.
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