CAPE TOWN – Tatjana Schoenmaker will be rewarded with a handsome sum of R850 000 for her remarkable exploits at the Tokyo Olympics following Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s announcement of incentives on Friday.
The other medallist in Tokyo, surfer Bianca Buitendag, will be rewarded with R220 000.
The 24-year-old Schoenmaker was a revelation in the pool at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre when claimed a gold medal in winning the 200m breaststroke title in a world-record time of 2:18.95 in that event.
Before that, she secured a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke, and also produced an Olympic record of 1:04.82.
Mthethwa said during an online media briefing on Friday that Team South Africa medallists at both the Olympics and Paralympics will receive financial incentives, while their coaches will also be rewarded.
For Category A: gold medal, the athlete will receive R450 000 and the coach R120 000. In Category B: silver medal, the athlete will get R220 000 and the coach R70 000, and in Category C: bronze medal, the athlete will be awarded R100 000 and the coach R30 000.
In addition, a world record will result in R180 000 for the athlete, but nothing for the coach.
That means that apart from Schoenmaker’s R850 000, her coach Rocco Meiring will receive R190 000 in total, with Buitendag’s coach Greg Emslie being handed R70 000.
It is a slightly different breakdown to the incentives for the Rio 2016 campaign, where gold medallists Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya received R500 000 each – with Van Niekerk getting an extra R50 000 for his world record, and their coaches got R100 000.
For 2016 silver medallists such as Chad le Clos and Sunette Viljoen, they were awarded R270 000 each, with R50 000 to their coaches.
Bronze medallists Henri Schoeman and the Blitzbok team got R80 000, with R20 000 to the coach.
“We have strengthened our recognition and reward programmes… (in order to) contribute to the pool of positive role models for the young people in our communities, and inspire the next generation of our athletes,” Mthethwa said.
“We are guided by our core values of an athlete-centred and excellence-breeding sports system. Our aim as a department is to provide incentives to applaud individual athletes and teams who continue to make our nation proud by displaying exceptional performance and attaining remarkable results.
“Let me shower both our athletes with felicitations for doing exceptionally well at the Tokyo Olympics: Tatjana Schoenmaker, who made us proud when she scooped gold and silver medals, as well as a world record, and Bianca Buitendag with a silver medal, for bringing pride and honour to our country, and uplifting our spirits, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am equally confident that our Paralympians will do better and bring more medals, which will be worthy of thorough celebrations to form part of our class of 2021 great achievers.”