The final announcement on the rewards for medal winners will be made once the Paralympic Games draw to a close on September 5.
DURBAN – South African athletes who won medals at the just-ended Olympic games in Tokyo will receive a reward, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has affirmed.
The final announcement on the rewards will be made once the Paralympic Games, also to be held in the Japanese capital from later this month, draw to a close on September 5, Mthethwa said in a statement dated Tuesday.
He said winning a medal at the games was no easy task, and “it is therefore befitting for the country to recognise and honour outstanding and exceptional performances at both (the) Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
Mthethwa’s statement comes in the wake of reports suggesting that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) was cash strapped and could therefore not give medal winners Bianca Buitendag and Tatjana Schoenmaker financial rewards for their achievements.
Sascoc president Barry Hendricks on Tuesday dismissed the reports as inaccurate, saying the committee would reward the medallists, although the amounts for each athlete would be announced once negotiations were complete.
“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,” Hendricks said in a statement on Tuesday.
“There has never been a point whereby a decision has been made to not offer medallists incentives.”
— Team South Africa (@TeamSA2020) August 10, 2021
Given that the Paralympic Games were scheduled to begin on August 24, Hendricks said, the committee did not want the issue of incentives to distract athletes.
He added: “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.’”
African News Agency (ANA)