What's in it For Our Athletes if They Win Olympic Gold?
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After an entire year of delay due to the crippling onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is finally underway. But what’s more important, Malaysia has also won itself a first medal – a bronze from our national men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik – so here’s a hearty congratulations from us at RinggitPlus!

It goes without saying that both men have done the country proud in the international event, but the glory and medals are not the only rewards that they will be receiving. Being a world-class athlete in any capacity also means that they will be entitled to a certain amount of cash reward from the government – but how much exactly are they being provided? Let’s find out!

Cash Incentives From The National Sports Council

Our National Sports Council has allocated what they call Skim Hadiah Kemenangan Sukan (SHAKAM) where cash gifts of different amounts are given out depending on an athlete’s medal placement in different sports events where they represent Malaysia. A number of sports events are covered under SHAKAM, namely the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, and the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

For the Olympic Games, individual gold medal winners will be entitled to RM1 million, whereas silver medal and bronze medal winners will get RM300,000 and RM100,000 respectively. For team sports, the amounts remain the same and will be awarded to the team to be shared – as seen in the case of Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong when they won silver in the women’s synchronised 10m platform event during the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. That’s a lot of incentive to start training right away, huh? To date, as many as 13 Olympic athletes have reaped rewards through the SHAKAM programme.

(Image: The Star)

On top of SHAKAM, there is also an additional Olympic-specific incentive by the name of Skim Imbuhan Tetap Olimpik, where winning athletes will be paid a monthly allowance for a lifetime (pension). In short, gold medallists will earn themselves a monthly pension of RM5,000, whereas silver medallists will be provided with RM3,000. Bronze medallists, on the other hand, are given RM2,000.

To note, these same rewards under SHAKAM also apply to Paralympic medallists as well, following a decree made in August 2016. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also hinted fairly recently that the government may provide a “special” reward for athletes who win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games. No further information has been shared as of yet, however.

Sponsorships and Endorsement Deals

Becoming a public figure via competitive displays of athleticism on the international stage will certainly boost an athlete’s profile. This subsequently opens them up for sponsorship opportunities from big brands, which in turn, provides the athletes with either free goods and services that can help them train, or outright cash to sustain themselves in the off-seasons. Winning gold internationally of course boosts an athlete’s profile even harder. Becoming the face of an entire sport means they can land sponsorship or endorsement deals from international brands, depending on the popularity of said sport. A good example is three-time Olympic silver medallist, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, who received endorsement by brands such as Yonex, Samsung, 100Plus, and Kaspersky throughout the years – just to name a few.

Cultural and Morale Boost

(Image: EPA Pic)

This one is a lot harder to quantify but still important nonetheless. Getting Malaysia’s name on the map for excellence in athletic accomplishment can be a great boost for our people’s morale. The days after the gold medal being won would mean interviews everywhere on media, where we all can hear and be inspired by the stories of triumph from our own homegrown athletes.

In addition to that, a gold win could also mean that Malaysia may receive more foreign athletes who are playing in the same sport, coming to train alongside our own winners. This will not only promote bilateral relations between Malaysia and other countries, but also raise the bar on our own level of sportsmanship.

Not to mention, there’s always also the possibility of getting an extra public holiday following the medal win – all in the name of celebration! Remember when we were given an extra day of public holiday when Malaysian athletes pulled off an extraordinary showing at the SEA Games back in 2017? Great times.

***

Malaysia still has a few upcoming games that we can look forward to, including diving and track cycling. You can keep up with the Olympic schedule here, or find out how we are doing via the Olympic Council of Malaysia website. However things turn out, we’d just like to extend our deepest gratitude to our contingent of athletes who has given their best in Tokyo Olympic 2020.

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