Once again, swimmer Yip Pin Xiu has done Singapore proud. Despite the training challenges she faced over the last year and a half due to Covid-19 restrictions, she prevailed and brought home two gold medals from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
However, Pin Xiu will receive only a fraction of the prize money that a Singaporean Olympic gold medal winner gets.
What message are we sending our community when we award a Paralympian – a double gold medallist no less – a much smaller monetary reward than an Olympian? It smacks of discrimination and indicates that their achievements aren’t as highly regarded, their competition isn’t as challenging, and they’re not as good as their able-bodied counterparts.
Across the Causeway, Malaysian Paralympians who win gold receive RM1 million (S$323, 550) – just like their Olympian counterparts. In The Sunday Times, it was reported that Australian Paralympians will receive bonus payments equal to Olympic medallists (Australian Paralympians get Olympic rewards, Sept 5).
The policy to give Paralympians less prize money must change immediately. We can wax lyrical about the athletes’ successes and how they overcame their struggles, but let’s put our money where our mouth is and give our heroes their just rewards.
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