KUALA LUMPUR: Athletes now have 10,000 more reasons to settle for nothing but the gold medal in future SEA Games.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in addressing the country’s top athletes at a function at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara yesterday to fete their success at the Indonesia SEA Games, drew the loudest cheers when he proposed doubling the cash incentive for winning the gold medal.
Najib proposed that RM20,000 be given to athletes for their first gold medal in future SEA Games. It is a 100 per cent increase from the current RM10,000 for gold medal performances in the just concluded Games.
Subsequent gold medals won by the athlete will be worth RM10,000 each. Those who win a gold medal in a team event made up of at least five members, will get RM10,000 each – four times the current amount.
There is no reward for silver or bronze medal performances at the SEA Games, unlike for the Common-wealth Games and Asian Games.
For bowler Adrian Ang, who turned out to be the biggest winner yesterday with RM20,333, it was all good news to him.
“I would be getting more if the proposal was for this SEA Games but that’s not the reason why I am in the sport,” he said.
“I want to achieve the best results and winning the gold gives me the greatest satisfaction. Monetary rewards come later and we, as athletes, should be grateful that the government appreciates us, especially with a better carrot for the future,” said Adrian, who was the best performer in the national bowling team’s campaign in Jakarta.
The 23-year-old shone with four gold medals in the men’s doubles, trios, team and Masters, and a bronze in the singles.
A total of RM629,996 was handed out to the 91 winners yesterday in recognition of their golden efforts at the SEA Games in Jakarta and Palembang last month.
After Adrian, track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa received the second highest amount of RM17,000 for her gold medals in the sprint, 500m time trial and team sprint.
Synchronised swimmer Katrina Ann Hadi picked up a cheque for RM12,666 despite winning five gold medals.
This was because Katrina won only one individual gold, the other four coming from the duet and team disciplines.
Other big winners were double gold medallists divers Bryan Nickson Lomas and Yeoh Ken Nee, and swimmers Siow Yi Ting and Heidi Gan.
Source : The Star