KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman promises equal treatment for para athletes – just like his predecessor Khairy Jamaluddin.
Yesterday, Syed Saddiq hailed the sacrifices of para athletes as equal to the able-bodied athletes and fanned the fire in them to give their best at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, starting on Oct 6.
Syed Saddiq has decided to continue with the same incentive scheme for the para athletes. Khairy is the first Sports Minister to moot an equal incentive package for able-bodied and para athletes when he became the sports minister five years ago.
“The para athletes will get the same amount of incentive from National Sports Council (NSC) like the able-bodied athletes - this will remain the same,” said Syed Saddiq.
Athlete receive an incentive of RM80,000 for winning a gold at the Asian Games, RM40,000 for silver and RM20,000 for bronze respectively.
“We’ll continue to be fair to para athletes. Failure to concentrate on para athletes means the entire sports development in the country has failed.
“When we move forward in sports, we move forward as one because para athletes are also our national sportsmen and sportswomen.”
He hopes para athletes will keep the nation’s flag flying high at the Games.
“I’ll meet Gobind Singh Deo (Communications and Multimedia minister) to make sure the electronic and print media will give deserving coverage for all the gold medal winners in the Asian Para Games,” he said.
“Para athletes can be rest assured that they will get fair treatment from us,” said Syed Saddiq after receiving sponsorships totalling RM295,000 from nine corporate firms for the Asian Para Games at the Malaysia Paralympic Sports Excellence Centre in Kampung Pandan yesterday.
The donors were Tune Talk, National Entrepreneurs Foundation, Bata, Al-Ikhsan Sports, Beunited Asia, Maraliner, GNT Medixcel, F&N Beverages and Naza Corporation Holdings.
A total of 138 athletes will feature in 151 events in 15 sports at the Asian Para Games. Malaysia are not taking part in three sports - judo, goal ball and sitting volleyball.
In the 2014 Incheon Asian Para Games, Malaysia finished overall seventh with a haul of 15 golds, 20 silvers and 27 bronzes at the last Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea four years ago.