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China Man

4.5 Million Usd For Olympic Medalist

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SINGAPORE (AFP) - Singapore has earmarked a warchest of up to seven million (US$4.5 million) dollars in a quest to win its first Olympic medal since 1960.

Getting on the Olympic podium has proved a difficult task for the city-state despite its successes at Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Southeast Asian Games.

Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean said they were determined to break the drought at Beijing in 2008, and carry those successes on to London in 2012.

"We thought it worthwhile to start a program for 2008 and 2012 to see what extra things we can give our athletes," he was quoted as saying in the Straits Times.

"We are not sure we will succeed, but in the process we will learn how best we can support our top-end athletes to go that extra mile and scale the Olympic heights."

The cash is likely to be used to help no more than a dozen athletes, with badminton, table tennis, sailing and shooting set to benefit.

The money will go towards hiring world-class coaches and sending athletes on more overseas training schemes.

Weightlifter Tan Howe Liang's silver in the 1960 Olympics remains Singapore's last medal, although they have come close since.

In Sydney in 2000, table tennis player Jing Junhong narrowly missed out after being beaten in the semi-finals. The same fate befell paddler Li Jiawei in Athens.

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I think that this is the case here. However, this issue will bring some misgivings about what the Olympic ideals are all about. Is it really about how much money an athlete is going to get, if he/she wins an Olympic gold medal? Will he/she end up indirectly be POLITICALLY involved (like in some certain nations of the past) whether he/she likes it or not? Would it lead to more "essential doping" for such athletes to "get ahead of the competition?" For me, I don't like the implications that might or will occur here.

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To be fair, they're not talking about monetary rewards here, rather development money for coaching and facilities etc. I can't see anything wrong with that, and indeed if anything, it's laudable. And the high profile of the Olympics coupled with the prestige of an Olympic Gold Medal makes it an obvious incentive for nations such as Singapore which do not have a high profile in many mainstream sports but could perhaps gain success in such individual sports as badminton and table tennis.

Good on them, I hope they achieve the breakthrough they want. As an Australian, it's hard to criticise when we consider it just natural, and even a vote winner for political parties, to always budget big dollars towards sports and elite athlete development with a particular focus on the Olympics.

The temptation to go further and use cheat methods to "stay ahead of the competition" is a whole different issue and is not one that is particularly linked to government-sponsored sports programs _ doping and such is probably more rife in the very high profile sports that receive little government assistance but which shower fame and rewards on its participants.

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I see. It does makes sense, to a degree, when a NOC doesn't have a storied history of Olympic medallists to showcase to its own citizens about success in this way. As you have said, roltel, the temptation to go furthur than that could corrupt the whole process easily.

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I see. It does makes sense, to a degree, when a NOC doesn't have a storied history of Olympic medallists to showcase to its own citizens about success in this way. As you have said, roltel, the temptation to go furthur than that could corrupt the whole process easily.

While there might be doubts about some nations programs, I really do believe the era of large-scale State-sponsored doping a la East Germany are behind us. I see the problem now as one of individual atheletes of particular coaching circles.

Programs like Singapores etc are not that much different from canada's "Own The Podium" strategy for Vancouver.

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And speaking of incentive funding:

SYDNEY, Nov 22, 2006 (AFP) - The Australian Olympic Committee Wednesday increased funding to elite athletes to help reverse an anticipated slide in medal prospects ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The latest benchmark study conducted by the AOC indicates Australia would finish fifth on the overall medal tally if the Olympics had been held this year, down from fourth in Athens, with Germany moving ahead.

Sixth-placed Japan is also fast closing in on Australia, the AOC said.

The study shows Australian athletes winning 40 medals -- 15 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze -- a drop from last year's medal haul prediction of 50.

AOC President John Coates said the five million (3.8 million USD) boost in funding was added incentive for our Olympic hopefuls, and in line with other top-five countries.

``Our executive is well aware that other nations have increased funding to their athletes and sports to record levels and we are being challenged to maintain our position in the top five on the overall Olympic medal tally,'' Coates said in a statement.

Athletes who win a gold medal at a world championship or other major international event in 2006 or 2007 will now receive 15,000 dollars (11,500 USD), up from 10,000 dollars (7,500 USD).

That includes team sport athletes such as the Australian women's basketball side, which won this year's world championships.

``In order to remain competitive in Beijing and beyond we need to ensure appropriate incentives are in place for our best athletes,'' Coates said.

AFP

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