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Wed Apr 23 19:24:24 SAST 2014

Richer, but fewer medals from Paralympics

DAVID ISAACSON | 11 September, 2012 07:180 Comments
Silver medallist Natalie du Toit poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's 100m freestyle S9 final last Friday at the Paralympics in London, England

SOUTH Africa's Paralympic heroes return home from London this morning a whole lot richer - they have been promised an extra R4-million prize money for their medal-winning efforts.

Perhaps the cash cows can breathe a secret sigh of relief that this was South Africa's worst Paralympic performance in terms of gold medals since before 1996.

The eight gongs place South Africa 18th on the table in 2012.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and the government will have to cough up R6.32-million to reward the athletes who won medals in London.

The top earner is swimmer Natalie du Toit, whose three gold and one silver are worth R1.4-million.

Had these incentives been on offer for the South African team that finished sixth at the 2008 Beijing Games with 21 gold, three silver and six bronze, the athletes would have pocketed a massive R9.48-million.

The 15 gold, 13 silver and seven bronze for 13th spot at Athens 2004 would have earned R8.6-million.

The 13 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze, also for 13th place, at Sydney 2000 would have been worth R8.64-million. And the 10 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze for 15th in Atlanta 1996 would have been worth R6.4-million.

But when Sascoc first announced their rewards package for the Olympics and Paralympics in July, they had decided to pay winners of Olympic medals more than their Paralympic counterparts.

The scale was R400000 vs R100000 for gold medals, R200000 vs R75000 for silvers and R80000 vs R40000 for bronzes (excluding bonuses for coaches).

At the time they had budgeted R2.85-million for 13 Olympic medals and R3.71-million for 40 Paralympic medals.

But Sascoc and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula announced at the weekend that Paralympic medallists should earn the same as their Olympic teammates.

The country's able-bodied athletes pocketed R1.68-million for their six medals last month.

But the richest incentives for Olympic medals was offered in 2000, with R1-million for gold, R500000 for silver and R250000 for bronze.

And that was courtesy of an Olympic sponsor.

Four years later there were no incentives.

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Richer, but fewer medals from Paralympics

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