ALL OF Singapore's 53 medallists at this year's Commonwealth and Asian Games received special thank-you notes last night to go with their cash prizes from the Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP).
Each had a framed handwritten note from Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president, as well as a second congratulatory note from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.
A total of $3.44 million was given out at the Pan Pacific Singapore under the cash incentive scheme sponsored by the Tote Board and Singapore Pools.
Sailor Jodie Lai, 13, one of the youngest recipients, received $200,000 for her gold-winning feat in the women's Optimist competition at the Incheon Asiad.
She took a while to decipher Mr Tan's cursive handwriting, but said the note was a heartfelt gesture she appreciated. "It's an honour because you never expect to receive a personal note from the minister," said the Raffles Girls' School student, who will be gunning for a berth when Singapore hosts the SEA Games next June. Swimmer Joseph Schooling pocketed the biggest sum: $370,000 for four medals won - one silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and one gold, one silver and one bronze at the Incheon Asian Games. The 19-year-old, an undergraduate at the University of Texas, was represented by his parents last night.
As a surprise, medallists and Games record holders of the Asian Games each received a watch from Swiss watchmaker Tissot, with their names engraved on it.
Singapore clinched eight golds, five silvers and four bronzes at the Commonwealth Games in July, then returned from the Asian Games with five golds, six silvers and 13 bronzes last month. In his address, Mr Tan said: "(You) have encapsulated the spirit of Team Singapore. You have all been an inspiration... congratulations on prevailing (against) the adversities and soldiering on for Singapore."
Bowler Jazreel Tan was one of those singled out by Mr Tan, for her relentless pursuit of Asian Games success, having missed the 2006 edition and returned empty- handed in 2010. "There's been a lot of angst, tears and anger over the past eight years," said Tan, who was awarded $267,333 for being the most bemedalled athlete at the Asian Games with one gold, two silvers and a bronze.
All athletes will plough back 20 per cent of their rewards for the Asian Games and half of what they get for the Commonwealth Games to their respective national sports associations for training and development purposes.
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