SINGAPORE: Paralympian Yip Pin Xiu will receive S$400,000 in total for the two gold medals that she won in the recent Rio Paralympics, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu told Parliament on Monday (Oct 10).
“Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) has stated that before the Games actually that there will be a S$200,000 award per medal because Yip Pin Xiu has gotten two medals so it will be S$400,000,” said Ms Fu.
The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) awarded Joseph Schooling S$1 million for winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics, as it has a different rewards scheme with a cap of S$1 million, she added.
Noting calls by the public to improve the rewards given to the medalled Paralympians - specifically Yip and fellow para-swimmer Theresa Goh who clinched a bronze at Rio - Ms Fu encouraged the SNPC and SNOC to review their schemes and called on more corporations to step forward to support the organisations’ efforts to reward Team Singapore athletes.
She added that the amount of monetary reward given to Singapore's medalled Olympians and Paralympians is decided by the two non-governmental organisations SNPC and SNOC, and their sponsors. “This is in line with the general convention that monetary rewards for competitions in sport are largely funded by private means through sponsorships, donations and product endorsements,” said Ms Fu.
The Athlete Achievement Award (AAA), which recognises the achievements of Team Singapore medallists at Major Games such as the Paralympics, Asian Para Games, Commonwealth Games and the ASEAN Para Games, was initiated by the Singapore Disability Sports Council in 2002, said Ms Fu.
SNOC has also been recognising the achievements of Singapore athletes who have medalled at major Games such as the Olympics, Asian Games and South East Asian Games since 1991, under the the Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP).
Asked by Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh if the Government believes that the Paralympians should be equally rewarded, Ms Fu said: “As far as the Government is concerned, our primary focus is to help our athletes who are driven, who are motivated, and who are courageous to have the same opportunities to step on the podium. That support system does not discriminate between able-bodied and disabled athletes."
She added: "The stipends, the allowance they get from us is exactly the same, it's equal. And the kind of support in terms of sport science, sport medicine (specialists), physiotherapists, psychologists and counsellors are all the same. So our focus is to help as many athletes as possible in their journey onto the podium."
"What's after the podium - I think it's for every one of us to put in our share and stand behind them to cheer them on,” she said.
A motion will also be moved in Parliament next month to congratulate Singapore's Paralympians for their excellent performance in Rio and to celebrate their achievements, Ms Fu announced.