Golden rewards to motivate SEA Games athletes

AFTER the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, businessman Pang Chin Keong delivered on his promise of rewarding athletes who win more than three gold medals.

This year, Pang, a former Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) vice-president, is back with the same pledge.

The 65-year-old said: "It's Singapore's 50th anniversary, a happy occasion, and I hope the promise of rewards can motivate our athletes to do well for Singapore."

Under the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) Multi-million Dollar Award Programme, athletes get monetary rewards up to their third gold medal - $10,000 for the first and $5,000 each for the second and third.

Yesterday, Pang confirmed that he would again pledge $20,000 per gold medal from the athletes' fourth gold onwards.

Swimmers Joseph Schooling and Tao Li were the beneficiaries of Pang's cash rewards after the 2013 Games.

Schooling finished with five golds, while Tao won four. They were awarded $40,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Besides the duo, the Republic's men's basketball team also received a cash reward from Pang - in the form of a $1,000 red packet at the BAS' SEA Games appreciation dinner last January.

The cagers had won Singapore's first basketball medal since 1979 when they finished third in Myanmar.

However, Pang, who is in the timber business, said that this time he will divide the sum of a swimming relay gold by four.

That means Schooling, who is entered in six individual events and three relays, is looking at a total of $75,000 from Pang if he wins all his nine events.

Tao, meanwhile, is entered in four individual events and one relay at the biennial meet.

Besides Schooling and Tao, swimmers Quah Ting Wen, Quah Zheng Wen, Samantha Yeo, Lionel Khoo and Christie May Chue - who will be competing in more than three events - also stand to benefit from Pang's generosity. Yesterday, Pang reiterated the promise he made last year of a $500,000 carrot should Singapore top the medal table at the meet.

He said: "I know it's difficult, but that's the whole point, to get the athletes to band together and challenge themselves."

Singapore finished sixth at the last SEA Games with 34 golds. Thailand were top with 107 golds.

The Republic's best finish was in 1993, when it finished fourth overall with 50 golds.

siangyee@sph.com.sg

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