Call to recognise world success

Call to recognise world success
Joseph Schooling (third from left) receiving his award at the Multi-million dollar awards programme (MAP) ceremony last night.

Even as a cool $1 million was disbursed to 183 gold medallists in June's SEA Games on home soil under the Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP) last night, athletes and administrators agreed that those who medal at world championships should also be recognised in some way.

Currently, the MAP Awards reward athletes who win medals at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and SEA Games - major competitions sanctioned by the Singapore National Olympic Council.

Singapore swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen were the biggest winners last night when they each received $31,250 after their exploits at the SEA Games.

But Schooling (left, inset), 20, will not receive any monetary reward for his stunning bronze medal in the 100m butterfly at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, last month.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Team Singapore Appreciation dinner last night at Orchard Hotel, the butterfly sprint star said: "A lot of hard work and a lot of money have been spent (including by my parents) to get me to where I am today.

"I'm lucky with the MAP Awards that sponsors have chipped in for Team Singapore, but it would be nice if achievements at the world champs are recognised, too.

"Any chance to win more money would be nice to cover the expenses we incur as we strive for greater heights in our various sports."

Singapore athletes have tasted success in world championships in bowling, cuesports, silat, table tennis and wushu.

It is understood that the various National Sports Associations (NSAs) may reward their athletes privately.

SEA Games English billiards singles champion Peter Gilchrist, who won the WPBSA World Championships in 1994, 2001 and 2013, also called for recognition for the rare moments when local athletes set world records.

The 47-year-old set a world record break of 1,346 in 2007, and said last night: "It would definitely be a big boost for the local sports scene if those who do well at world championships are recognised and rewarded.

"I understand there could be different versions of world championships or world cups in different sports, but these could be spelt out before the awards are considered."

The MAP Awards, which are backed by the Tote Board, Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club, give out the biggest amounts for Olympic success, with an individual gold medallist in line to receive $1 million.

Singapore Bowling Federation Jessie Phua agreed that the time had come to set up an award for those who medal at the various world championships.


Phua added: "I have always felt that our athletes who make a mark at the world level, outside of those already covered by the MAP Awards, should also be recognised.

"But these should be for only established and recognised world championships.

"For sports that have multiple world championships, the NSAs would have the knowledge to nominate just one for consideration of any rewards to maintain the exclusivity and prestige of the awards."

With the Rio Olympics a year away, the likes of Schooling and the country's world-class table tennis players will stand a chance to be rewarded again under the MAP Awards Programme.

Schooling, who was also the top earner when the awards were given out for the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, won six individual golds and three relay golds at this year's Games, while Quah had four individual golds and also took part in the three relays.

Fellow swimmers Tao Li ($23,750), Quah Ting Wen and Amanda Lim ($21,250 each), and table tennis player Gao Ning ($20,500), were other top earners last night.

This article was first published on August 27, 2015.
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