On Friday, Singaporean para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu picked up her second Rio gold, reigniting a debate about prize money!
She won the women’s 50m backstroke S2 event hands down. Last week, she came in first in the 100m back S2 event and also set a new world record of 2min 7.09sec. It was her third Paralympics gold, after she clinched her very first in 50m back S3 race at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
For her gold, she is entitled to receive $200,000, a fifth of the $1 million that her Olympian counterpart receives for winning a game. Notably, Yip is Singapore’s first athlete to win multiple medals in the same Paralympic Games.
Now, her second win had brought the debate about disparity to the forefront.
Yip doesn’t do it for money: “Over the years, I’ve always had friends coming up to me and said I should be given more. But I don’t make a hoo-ha about it. Because we don’t do it for the money.”
Meanwhile, the Malay Mail Online reported that the country’s Paralympic athletes will get the same monetary rewards as their Olympic counterparts when they win medals. This made Singapore netizens to demand the same respect for their para-athletes, Today reported.
In addition to their monetary rewards, Malaysian Olympic and Paralympic medalists also receive a lifetime monthly pension of RM5,000 for a gold medal, RM3,000 for silver, and RM2,000 for bronze.
Funny how #YipPinXiu isn't getting the glory she's supposed to get despite clinching two gold medals at the Paralympics.
— JRDN (@jrdnrighthere) September 17, 2016
— Dawn Westerhout (@DawnWesterhout) September 16, 2016
— Wai Yee (@spookyisme) September 10, 2016
To win an Olympic gold is hard. To win a Paralympic gold is harder. To win 2 Paralympic golds is… Congrats, Ms Yip Pin Xiu! #YipPinXiu
— francistan (@mrfrancistan) September 16, 2016
Not just monetary benefits, even the amount of news space that Paralympic medal winners garner in the media is comparatively less in several Asian countries. Online social media, after Yip’s second golden moment, witnessed a deluge of messages calling for equality and due respect and recognition for the para-athletes.