SINGAPORE: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu will receive S$800,000 for the two gold medals she won at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in August, said the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) on Saturday (Oct 16).
The cash award is twice what Yip would have originally received, after DBS Bank stepped in as a new sponsor.
SNPC announced on Saturday that DBS will match the council’s Athletes Achievement Awards (AAA), the cash incentive scheme for Singaporean athletes who win medals at major para games.
DBS comes on board alongside primary sponsor Tote Board.
“(DBS’) initial commitment will span two Paralympic Games cycles, until the Paralympic Games 2024 in Paris,” said SNPC. The funding by DBS will also cover the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Para Games, Asian Para Games and the Commonwealth Games.
The move comes in the wake of public discussion over the disparity in cash awards. Joseph Schooling received S$1 million for the gold medal he won at the 2016 Rio Games.
Yip was originally awarded S$200,000 for each gold medal won at the Paralympic Games. She was presented with two cheques amounting to S$800,000 at the 2021 Athletes Achievement Awards and Appreciation Ceremony on Saturday.
Under the AAA scheme, 20 per cent of the total cash award goes to SNPC and the Singapore Disability Sports Council.
REPRESENTING SINGAPORE A “PRIVILEGE”: YIP PIN XIU
Calling it a “a step in the right direction”, Yip said she is glad that Singapore is taking “active steps towards achieving parity for the cash quantum”.
“Representing Singapore at the highest level is a privilege and to have won two gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is testament to the hard work that the team and I have put in,” she said.
Yip added she has also set her eyes on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and will “continue to train hard”.
DBS Singapore Group Executive and Country Head Shee Tse Koon said DBS “readily agreed” when the council approached DBS to ask if they would consider sponsoring the AAA.
“All of us can do our part to create a more inclusive Singapore. As a Singapore brand, we also believe in supporting and nurturing homegrown talent,” said Mr Shee.
Team Singapore’s participation at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games marked the country’s ninth time it was participating in the Paralympic Games. It was also Singapore’s second-best medal haul, behind the two gold medals and one bronze medal won at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Singapore’s athletes participated in 18 events across six sports, achieving a total of seven personal bests, five new national records and two season bests. A total of 13 top 10 finishes were achieved.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister of Law Edwin Tong thanked SNPC and their corporate sponsors for supporting Singapore’s Paralympians “wholeheartedly”.
“The accomplishments of our Team Singapore athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have cheered and inspired Singaporeans from all walks of life,” said Mr Tong.
He added that the Government is committed to working with its stakeholders to make disability sports accessible, encourage more participation, as well as foster an inclusive society where “people of all abilities could experience, play, and excel in sports”.
Earlier this month, Mr Tong said in Parliament that efforts were being made to raise the cash rewards for para-athletes in major games.
There had been discussions online about the disparity between the cash rewards of the Major Games Award Programme (MAP) for able-bodied athletes and the AAA for para-athletes.
Several members of parliament have also asked if more could be done to reduce the disparity in cash awards between the two.
Mr Tong had said the difference in cash prizes did not reflect how the Government values able-bodied athletes and para-athletes.
“The award amounts offered under both schemes are raised and determined by the SNOC and SNPC respectively, along with their sponsors. Individually, the awards under each scheme are tiered based on the standard, size and field of competition for each major games,” he had said in Parliament.
“The difference in cash quantum does not reflect how Government values our para-athletes vis-à-vis our able-bodied athletes. In our eyes, they are all Team Singapore athletes, and each athlete, abled or disabled, has his or her own intrinsic value, which we value, recognise and appreciate.”