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SA’s Tokyo Olympics medal winners WILL be paid, BUT (and it’s a big BUT)!

SA’s Tokyo Olympics medal winners WILL be paid, BUT (and it’s a big BUT)!

Athletes who win medals at the2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will receive financial incentives, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has promised.

However, in arguably the vaguest press statement ever released, the governing body can’t say how much!

Barry Hendriks, the president of SASCOC, confirmed on Tuesday that reports that the governing body would not be rewarding Tatjana Schoenmaker and Bianca Buitendag were wide off the mark.

“We have been consistent in saying that we are in negotiations with partners over the issue of financial rewards to medallists at both the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics,” Hendriks said.

“It is true that the amounts have not been finalised given that the negotiations are ongoing. However, there has never been a point whereby a decision has been made to not offer medallists incentives.”

“We did not want the issue of financial incentives to distract from the performances of the athletes at both Games,” he said.

“We are now between the Olympics and the Paralympics, and we believe that we should be consistent in our treatment of athletes. So, we didn’t want to say, ‘yes, we are offering incentives for the athletes and the incentives are x, y and z.”

“All along we wanted the athletes to concentrate on their performances without distraction. Both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are being held in unprecedented times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We will be rewarding medallists and the amount for each medallist will be announced in due course once we have finalised negotiations with our partners, Hendriks added.

Schoenmaker and Buitendag were South Africa’s only two medalists at the Tokyo Olympics with Schoenmaker winning a gold medal in the women’s 200m breaststroke and a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke.

Buitendag won a silver medal in women’s surfing – and has since retired from the sport.

South Africa have had a far better record at the Paralympics in recent years, winning as many as 38 medals at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney and 35 in Athens in 2004.

However, it’s been a steady decline since then with 30 won in Beijing in 2008, 29 in London in 2012 and a lowly 17 in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

As it currently stands, South Africa will only be sending 18 athletes to compete in four sports at the Tokyo Paralympics which are scheduled to run from 24 August to 5 September 2021.


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