Pool prize money for more parity among athletes

Singapore's Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh.
Singapore's Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Disabled People's Association (DPA) congratulates Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu for winning a bronze and two gold medals in their respective competitions at the Rio Paralympics ("Paralympics: Yip Pin Xiu wins 2nd gold at Rio Games"; ST Online, yesterday, and "At last, Goh wins elusive medal"; Tuesday).

The DPA also congratulates their fellow Paralympians who represented Singapore at these games.

The Paralympics are undoubtedly the most successful disability sports event, and many champions become role models for people across the world.

Joseph Schooling rightly deserves all the praise and reward he received after winning Singapore's first Olympic gold medal.

Yet, Goh and Yip are no less deserving, and there should be parity in how they are rewarded.

After the 2012 London Paralympics, we wrote a letter to call for clarity on the disparity in monetary rewards for Paralympians and Olympians ("Clear the air on parity for Paralympians"; Sept 15, 2012).

In response, the Singapore National Olympic Council told us that the variance in cash rewards is because the prize money comes from different donor-funded schemes and because of better donor awareness of the Olympics over the Paralympics.

The reward for Paralympians is derived from the Athletes' Achievement Award, while the reward for Olympians comes from the Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme.

Although the separate set-ups may explain the variance in the reward amounts, they do not explain why things have to remain that way.

If the prize money for Olympians and Paralympians cannot be matched, then going forward, the two funding schemes should be consolidated into one, so that private donors fund the reward for all elite athletes.

Such a move would show that we are taking steps towards being an inclusive society, instead of just talking about it.

Nicholas Aw


Disabled People's Association

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Pool prize money for more parity among athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe