fast little loans
The Olympic and Paralympic teams head to London in search of medals with the promise that there will be a pot of gold at the end for the Rainbow Nation.
The SA Sports Confederations and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has put R6 million into an incentive pot for athletes who win medals.
An Olympic gold medal is worth R500 000 (R400 000 for the athlete and R100 000 for the coach), and gold in the Paralympics R120 000 (R100 000 for the athlete and R20 000 for the coach).
Olympic silver and bronze will earn the athletes R200 000 and R80 000 (coaches receive R50 000 and R20 000), while Paralympians will take home R75 000 and R40 000 for silver and bronze (coaches get R15 000 and R10 000).
It’s a vast improvement from 2008, when the Olympic team was given a single pot of R500 000 to share after Absa stepped in with a late injection of cash.
Khotso Mokoena, with SA’s solitary medal, silver in the long jump, pocketed the lot and was also given R1m by Athletics SA. The 2008 Paralympic team, having brought back 30 medals, shared R1.8m, which had been put together by the team’s sponsors. Natalie du Toit, who won five gold medals in Beijing, was given R330 000 of that.
Sascoc went to great pains to explain why the amounts were different for the two squads.
“The Sascoc board fully understands and appreciates that a Paralympic medal is as precious to a Paralympic athlete as an Olympic medal is to an Olympic athlete,” said Gideon Sam, the president of Sascoc.
“In commitment, sacrifice, one cannot distinguish between the two. Both sets of athletes undergo the same requirements and hard work. What must be understood are the differences in the events. At the Paralympics there are about 4 000 athletes competing for about 500 medals; in the Olympic Games there are 10 500 athletes competing for 300 medals.
“The 100m race is a good example – in the Olympics there are just two medals, one for men and one for the women. In the Paralympics, there are 13 medals on offer for the men and 12 for the women, simply because of the different classification system. We have got agreement from the Paralympic people on this. Believe me, there was a lot of robust debate, but we felt that this was the fairest way.”
It is likely that Oscar Pistorius could earn himself R320 000 (100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m) at the Paralympics. Should Cameron van der Burgh have the meet of his life in London, he might earn around R1m. Du Toit could also be the big winner, with the possibility of earning R500 000.
Should any of the teams at the Games – football, hockey, volleyball, rowing and the relays in the pool and on the track – win medals, then they will share the money. While Sam now makes light of the “12 from ’12” promise he made about the London Olympics, Sascoc may have a problem if South African athletes get into a medal-winning frenzy in London.
“There is a finite pot of money. We have R6 million for everything,” said Sam. “We tried to take out ‘insurance’ from a few companies, but that fell through. I wanted to buy a policy for R2.5-million for a guarantee of R10-million of insurance, but the guy came around and asked me what the catch was. So, they wouldn’t go for it.
“So, we looked at our own finances and we had the money there. It means we could be a little short when it comes to the next cycle (of administration), but we’d rather have the medals and be a little short, than have the money sitting there. Which would you rather have?”
The Olympic team will leave for London next Thursday aboard a specially painted SAA Airbus. – The Star