CAPE TOWN - THEY brought great joy to millions of South Africans, and now Mzansi’s Olympic and Paralympic medallists are enjoying the fruits of their labours.
After Tatjana Schoenmaker and Bianca Buitendag received cheques worth R600 000 and R200 000 respectively (and their coaches Rocco Meiring and Greg Emslie got R150 000 and R50 000) from USN and Atterbury Property’s crowd-funding initiative, Toyota South Africa stepped up on Friday to award the swimming and surfing stars – as well as the Paralympic athletes who scooped a gold, silver or bronze deal at the Tokyo Games.
Toyota, who were also global sponsors of both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, decided to give gold medallists R100 000, silver R50 000 and bronze R25 000, which meant that double Paralympics champion Ntando Mahlangu received a cheque of R200 000 – the most on the day at the handover ceremony.
PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN 🇿🇦— Tatjana Schoenmaker (@TRSchoenmaker) September 10, 2021
I have been in such awe the last month and more of the support and love our amazing South Africans have shown 🙏🏻 the Olympics slogan was “United by emotion” and that speaks so true of what I’ve seen in our beautiful country... pic.twitter.com/lMqU3S4fjr
He was followed by breaststroke swimming sensation Schoenmaker on R150 000 for her gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m.
Paralympic athletic and cycling champions Anruné Weyers and Pieter du Preez received R100 000 each, while long-distance runner Louzanne Coetzee got R75 000 for a silver and bronze.
Olympic surfing silver medallist Buitendag added R50 000 to her kitty, while Sheryl James, who was not present at the event, was awarded R25 000 for her Paralympic 100m bronze.
“It is customary for some nations that send their most talented athletes to the Olympic and Paralympic Games to reward their medallists. And since Toyota South Africa has long emphasised its role as a responsible corporate citizen, the incentives we are announcing are simply in line with that commitment,” senior vice president of sales and marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors, Leon Theron, said in a statement.
The medallists and their coaches will also be rewarded by government, with Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa announcing the list of incentives recently, which is set to total R2.58 million.