By now, swimmer Yip Pin Xiu is a household name among Singaporeans, thanks to her stunning achievements at the Paralympics.
However, many were aghast when they found out that she doesn’t get as many cash rewards for medals as her Olympic counterparts.
Now, we’ve gone some way to make up for that by awarding her $800,000 for 2 gold medals in the recent Paralympic Games.
Photo courtesy of Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC)
The larger reward was due to DBS Bank matching the sum she was supposed to get when it came on board as a co-sponsor.
In the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Yip excelled in the pool again, adding to her 3 medals won in Beijing (1) and Rio (2).
First, she defended her crown in the women’s 100m backstroke S2, winning Singapore’s 1st gold medal at the 2020 Games.
Then, she came in 1st for the women’s 50m backstroke S2 event, snagging her 2nd gold medal.
For her incredible feats, Yip was originally supposed to get $400,000 – $200,000 per medal.
This is compared with Olympic swimmer Joseph Schooling, who pocketed a cool $1 million for 1 gold in 2016.
Yip would’ve had to win 5 medals to equal Schooling’s cash prize.
Singapore former diplomat Tommy Koh called out the disparity in response, saying it’s morally and legally wrong.
Enter DBS Bank, which joined as a co-sponsor of the Singapore National Paralympic Council’s (SNPC’s) Athletes Achievement Awards (AAA).
This was announced by SNPC in a press release sent to MS News on Saturday (16 Oct).
The bank will join alongside the Tote Board, which is the primary sponsor.
DBS committed to match the Tote Board’s cash award given out to medal-winning Paralympic athletes, and will also do so for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
DBS Singapore Group Executive Shee Tse Koon said SNPC approached DBS to ask if they would consider sponsoring the AAA, and they “readily agreed”.
That means instead of $400,000 for 2 medals, Yip was awarded double the amount – $800,000.
Though 20% of it goes to the SNPC and Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC), we think it’s reward for her exploits in the pool.
Yip said that representing Singapore at the highest level is a privilege during the presentation ceremony on Saturday (16 Oct).
She also called the move a “step in the right direction”, adding,
I am glad that Singapore is taking active steps towards achieving parity for the cash quantum.
She will continue to train hard for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, and we’re looking forward to seeing her compete.
Though the amount that Yip got still doesn’t compare to what a medal-winning Olympian would win, it’s at least closer now.
Winning a medal at the Paralympics is just as difficult as doing so at the Olympics. Thus there’s no reason why Paralympic medallists’ pay should be just 20% of Olympic medallists’.
Other countries like Malaysia, Australia, and the United States (US) also pay their Paralympians and Olympians the same amount.
Let’s hope that Yip will be given what she deserves for another stellar performance by the time the Paris Games roll around.
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Featured image courtesy of SNPC.
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