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SINGAPORE — Singapore's para-athletes will get double of their cash awards for medals at major Para Games, after DBS Bank announced on Saturday (16 October) that it will match the Tote Board's sponsorship of the Singapore National Paralympic Council's (SNPC) Athletes Achievement Awards (AAA).
Para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu is the first beneficiary, having won two golds in the women's 50m and 100m (S2) backstroke events in August's Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Whereas she would have originally received $400,000 from the AAA - $200,000 for each gold - for her triumphs, she was thus awarded a total of $800,000 under DBS Bank's additional sponsorship during the SNPC awards and appreciation ceremony at One Farrer Hotel on Saturday.
Yip, 29, expressed her appreciation for the cash award. She said, "To have won two gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympic Games is testament to the hard work that the team and I have put in.
"I am glad that Singapore is taking active steps towards achieving parity for the cash quantum and this is a step in the right direction. I have set my eyes on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and will continue to train hard."
Calls for parity in cash awards for medal-winning Paralympians and Olympians
The AAA, which hands out cash awards to para-athletes who had medalled at major Para Games, has been funded by private sponsors since its inception in 2002.
Following Yip's two-gold triumph in Tokyo, it has been a subject of scrutiny over the wide disparity between the $200,000 award to gold-winning Paralympians and the $1 million payout for an Olympic gold medal under the Major Games Award Programme for able-bodied athletes.
There were public calls for parity, or at least reducing the disparity, in the cash awards. Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, had said in Parliament earlier this month that SNPC had been holding discussions with private sponsors to boost its cash awards, and that he supports the council's engagement with corporate entities and private funders.
DBS commits support through to 2024 Paris Paralympics
DBS Bank will commit its support for the AAA through to the 2024 Paris Paralympics. Under the AAA scheme, 20 per cent of the cash award to the medal-winning athletes will go to the SNPC and the Singapore Disability Sports Council to help fund future training and development.
Shee Tse Koon, DBS Singapore's group executive and country head, said that the bank "readily agreed" to sponsor the scheme when SNPC approached it recently.
"Singapore’s para athletes exemplify a strong sense of purpose, passion and excellence – values that all of us in Team DBS share. It is our privilege to come alongside them in their journey, and to celebrate their hard-fought and well-deserved achievements," he said in a media release on Saturday.
Singapore's para-athletes had participated in 18 events across six sports at the Tokyo Paralympics, achieving five new national records, two season-bests and seven personal-bests.
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