As he tabled a motion in Parliament to honor the Singapore team athletes who competed in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong pointed out. government commitment to support athletes at all levels, including disabled sports.
This follows heated public debate over the disparity in cash incentives, with swimmer Yip Pin Xiu winning $ 200,000 for each of her two Paralympic gold medals, one-fifth of the payment for an Olympic gold medal. .
“The (difference) in cash amounts does not reflect the value the government places on our para-athletes over our able-bodied athletes,” he said. “To us, they are all Team Singapore athletes, and every athlete, able-bodied or disabled, has their own intrinsic worth, which we recognize and appreciate. “
Mr. Tong explained that the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) is working to narrow the gap in cash rewards. The Tote Board is the primary sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympic cash prizes, which may also include contributions from the private sector.
SNPC President Teo-Koh Sock Miang told the Straits Times that she hoped “we will have some good news to report” on the arrival of new sponsors by the time the awards are paid out next Saturday.
She added that one of the big challenges is convincing private donors to also reward achievements at Asian and Asian levels, instead of a “one-time” contribution to the Paralympic Games.
Dr Teo-Koh also said she had declined to address the issue of cash rewards so far because she did not want to jeopardize the ongoing negotiations.
But “a lot of the chatter and noise is appreciated, because it shows that people appreciate our para-athletes, and I thank them for that.”
Yesterday, in Parliament, Denise Phua, MP for Jalan Besar GRC, spoke of the disparity and said that “it is time to stick together”.
“I call on the government to intervene; to facilitate the process of re-imagining, revising and resourcing not only the high-level sports space for people with disabilities, but also to expand the talent pool through greater sports participation. “
Labor Party MP Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC) said support for national athletes should not depend on whether they win medals or tournaments. Instead, it should be an acknowledgment of their choice to “sacrifice their time, energy and finances to climb to the heights of their sport”.
Yesterday, Mr. Tong thanked Singapore’s national athletes for flying the flag with distinction at Tokyo 2020.
The call for recognition was supported by both sides of the House. – SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ