The samba rhythm will be guiding SA's Olympic team as they carry the high hopes of returning with the country's greatest medal haul yet. File Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

If ever the South African Olympic team needed extra motivation to go for gold at the Rio Games, they received it on Thursday in the shape of a number of financial incentives from Sascoc.

After months of uncertainty over sponsors and speculation about whether athletes would have to pay their own way to Rio, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee unveiled a number of lucrative carrots for our top athletes who are aiming to win a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Following a late cash injection from Telkom, along with the main contributions from the Lotto, individual athletes can win R500 000 for a gold medal, R250 000 for silver and R100 000 for bronze at both the Olympics (August 5-21) and Paralympics (September 7-18).

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said at the team announcement in Johannesburg on Thursday that each amount will be divided between the athlete and their coach on an 80-20 percentage ratio. For a gold medal, R400 000 will go to the athlete and R100 000 to the coach, silver will be R200 000 to the athlete and R50 000 to the coach, and bronze will see the athlete receive R80 000 and the coach R20 000.

In team events and relays, where a medal will count only as one to Team South Africa, the amounts are the same, but in the case of the team that wins gold, the R400 000 will be split equally amongst the players and the R100 000 will go to the head coach of that team.

That scenario could be faced by the 12-member Springbok Sevens rugby team, who have a realistic chance of winning at least a medal, if not gold.

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