South Africa Tatjana Schoenmaker set the Olympic pool on fire by not only stepping onto the podium in the women’s 200 breaststroke, but she did so by setting a world record.
The 24-year-old stopped the stopwatch in a record time of 2:18.95, with her emotional celebration in the pool that made many of the most notable media outlets in all of the Games. She also won silver in the 100 breaststroke, making her a double medalist.
Ultimately in Tokyo, Schoenmaker was only one of two total medalists at these Games from South Africa, the other being Bianca Buitendag in surfing.
However, their Olympic dreams of winning an Olympic medal were met with a grim reality check upon their return home, as the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) confirm that they are probably not. not able to pay the premiums for the Olympic medals.
President of SASCOC Barry hendricks Recount EWN South Africa that the inability to pay is due to budget constraints.
“We still have the Paralympic Games coming up and the Commonwealth Games next year. We are in a difficult financial situation and the truth is we cannot afford to pay them 500,000 rand. We do not want to set a dangerous precedent with the Paralympic Games approaching.
“We don’t want to be irresponsible when it comes to incentives. We will give them something small and hope the government will help in that regard.
“If we give the Olympians 500,000 rand, we have to use the same measure for the Paralympians. Imagine if they get 30 medals, we would be in big trouble because we don’t have any money set aside for it. We are studying the possibility of rewarding our two Olympic medalists, and it is not true that we will not reward them. The amount will be much lower than in 2016. ” (Sowetan Live)
At the 2016 Olympics, gold medalists won US $ 33,000, silver medalists US $ 13,000 and bronze medalists US $ 5,000.
Hendricks continued: “SASCOC cannot place unrealistic expectations on their athletes when we know very well that we cannot compete with Great Britain. Britain receives £ 350million over a four-year cycle ahead of the Olympics. SASCOC receives 28 million rand over four years. (Cape Town, etc.)
“We used to get a lot of money from the government for funding. We are now getting R5 million a year, and that has affected our operational excellence program. We cannot afford to pay or give our athletes the best medical treatment, send them to Europe or support their Olympic preparations. I didn’t set them a goal and told them to go do it to the best of their ability, and we’re proud of them. They succeeded given the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of funding, ”explained Hendricks.
We documented how many countries pay bonuses for Olympic medals in the form of cash, luxury gifts, and even deferral of required military service. You can see our article on this topic in more detail here.
For South Africa specifically for the Tokyo Games, the nation had to pay US $ 37,000 for a gold medal, US $ 19,000 for silver and US $ 7,000 for bronze. As such, Schoenmaker was to receive $ 56,000 while silver medalist Buitendag would receive $ 19,000.
But both operational and monetary issues have plagued SASCOC for some time. Whether it’s those who have to self-fund their own trips to compete in elite international competitions or fire international staff over allegations of sexual harassment.
You can refresh yourself on a sample of SASCOC related issues using these links:
As SASCOC searches for other monetary options for 2020 Olympic Games medalists, South African business leaders are trying to take matters into their own hands.
Carel Nolte, CMO of Easy Equities and Mike Sharman, Founder of Matchkit, launched a crowdfunding campaign, encouraging other entities to contribute to the bonuses of the two athletes. To date, the fund has raised approximately US $ 2,000.
This funding problem comes at a time when the newly elected president of FINA Husain al Musalla Africa podium prospects in Paris 2024 told the AP: “I think there will be a lot of athletes from Africa in swimming and they will reach the podium.
“When you give everyone the opportunity, they play. Africans lack resources, especially for water sports. FINA plans to spend $ 29 million over four years “on a strategy to broaden and deepen the pool of swimming talent” on the continent. (PA)