Edwin Tong: MCCY values all Team Singapore athletes
MPs in Parliament raise issue of monetary rewards for Paralympians
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said his ministry values all Team Singapore athletes tremendously and will continue to work with the relevant organisations to engage corporate Singapore to celebrate their achievements.
Mr Tong was responding to questions in Parliament on the issue of monetary rewards for Paralympians, which has been in the spotlight recently after swimmer Yip Pin Xiu won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Each win will earn her a $200,000 reward, which is one-fifth of the payout for an Olympic gold.
Opposition MP Jamus Lim had asked about the parameters that determine the incentive amounts offered under the Major Games Award Programme (MAP) of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) - which manages awards for Olympic athletes - and why there is a distinction between the Olympics and Paralympics.
Nominated MP Raj Joshua Thomas, meanwhile, inquired on steps taken by the Government to encourage more private sector contributions to the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) so that Paralympic medal winners can receive the same quantum as those at the Olympics.
Monetary incentives for Paralympic medallists are administered by the SNPC through its Athletes' Achievement Award (AAA) programme.
The Tote Board is the primary sponsor for the MAP and the AAA programme, which also feature contributions from the private sector.
In his written reply, Mr Tong said that his ministry is focused on building a structure and comprehensive system to provide sustained support for Team Singapore athletes of all abilities to pursue their sporting aspirations and achieve their potential, adding that the AAA and MAP are "private award schemes".
"MCCY and (national agency) Sport Singapore value all our Team Singapore athletes tremendously," he said.
"We will continue to work with SNOC and SNPC on opportunities to engage corporate entities and members of the public to celebrate our athletes' achievements."
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Tote Board spokesman noted that the SNOC and SNPC seek funding from various sponsors, including the Board, for the MAP and AAA scheme.
The government agency channels gaming revenue from Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club, as well as the collection of casino entry levy, to worthy causes in the community.
"Beyond contributing to the prize rewards for our medallists at major international sporting events, our focus is to provide opportunities for both able-bodied and para-athletes to realise their maximum potential and to support them in their pre-podium journey," said its spokesman.