KUALA LUMPUR: Besides their grinding training sessions, the Athens Olympics-bound athletes have also been kept busy with promotions activities over the last two days. But it was all made worthwhile when Samsung announced two big contributions to the Malaysian contingent yesterday.
Each of the 26 athletes – and 11 officials – received a Samsung SGH X600A mobile phone worth RM900 yesterday.
More importantly, though, Samsung announced a new incentive scheme designed to help the development of sports in the country.
Samsung, the official wireless communications equipment sponsor for the Games, have promised a maximum RM50,000 for a Malaysian gold medallist. A silver medal will be worth RM30,000 and a bronze RM20,000.
However, if an athlete wins a silver medal first and another wins a gold later, the payout would remain at the maximum of RM50,000.
The money will also not be given to the athlete. Instead, the winning athlete will be asked to present it to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) who are now mulling over the setting up of an athlete development fund.
Malaysia's chef-de-mission Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan said the money channelled to the OCM would be put to good use.
“The fund has not been set up but we are looking into setting it up now that we have received this sponsorship.
“The donation from the athletes will certainly be used by the OCM for the benefit of the athletes. It will be used for development or for the welfare of the athletes,” he added.
Dr Jegathesan, who is also OCM vice president, also joked that the athletes could not go missing in Athens now that they each had a handphone.
“The managers and coaches can certainly keep track of their charges,” he added.
Samsung Corporate and Branding Manager Douglas Boler: “The incentive is something different. Our Samsung ‘Go For Gold’ Olympic athletic sponsorship is designed to give our star athletes an opportunity to give back to their own and help provide some assistance in developing future talents.
“Should one of our Olympians win a medal, Samsung will contribute up to RM50,000 for the most prestigious medal won. We will give out RM30,000 for the first silver and RM20,000 for the first bronze medal. The winning athlete will have the honour of handing over the money to OCM.”
Of the 26 athletes who have qualified for the Games, 15 were at the Samsung function yesterday.
Except for Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui, the other shuttlers were Wong Choong Hann, Mohd Roslin Hashim, Lee Chong Wei, Choong Tan Fook, Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming, Chew Choon Eng.
The others were weightlifter Mohd Faizal Baharom, shooter Ricky Teh, swimmer Allen Ong and divers Leong Mun Yee, Gracie Junita and Bryan Nickson.
Cyclist Josiah Ng, taekwondo exponent Elaine Teo, shooter Bernard Yeo, swimmers Lim Keng Liat, Siow Yi Ting and Saw Yi Khy, walker Yuan Yufang, sailor Kevin Lim and gymnast Ng Shu Wai are all training abroad.
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