The National Council of Sports (NCS) met its pledge of rewarding all athletes who excelled at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics on Tuesday.
For their gold medals in the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase, Joshua Cheptegei and Peruth Chemutai got Shs50m each, respectively.
Cheptegei picked another Shs30m for the 10000m silver while Jacob Kiplimo received Shs20m for bronze in the same race.
Paralympian David Emong's bronze in the 1500m T46 race got him Shs20m.
Uganda had a team of 25 at the Olympics and another four for the Paralympics. Each of these received another Shs1m in addition to their allowances which were paid in July.
“We made history but now hope that we break that history because we are now a powerhouse in sports,” sports minister Hamson Obua said.
“Sport is no longer a liability to the country. It is now a big asset. Life is journey. You won't be an athlete forever.
“This is your time, your moment and you are lucky that we can also reward you. Some were not as lucky.
“From the little proceeds you are getting, save wisely. Save for the future,” Obua advised.
NCS General Secretary Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel was pleased to meet this commitment.
“We prioritized rewarding athletes as one of the ways of promoting sports,” NCS General Secretary Dr Benard Patrick Ogwel told a media briefing at the Lugogo Sports Complex.
Upon their return from Japan, President Museveni hosted the team to a state luncheon where he gave Chemutai, Cheptegei and Kiplimo cars. He also promised to build their parents houses.
Reward and recognition scheme
In 2018, the agency paid out Shs100m for medals won at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia but there’s no reward and recognition policy in place yet.
For his 5,000 and 10,000m double, Cheptegei pocketed Shs50m. Stella Chesang received Shs20m for winning the 10,000m women’s race.
Solomon Mutai, who won silver in the marathon, earned Shs15m while Mercyline Chelangat and Juma Miiro got Shs7.5m each for bronze in the 10,000m and boxing respectively.
NCS also gave Emong Shs30m for his Gold at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London plus Shs20m for Silver at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not pay prize money to medalists, many countries offer monetary rewards to their athletes for the number of medals they win at the Olympics.
Shs2.7b for Gold
At the Tokyo 2020 Games, Singapore is paying the most for medals. Any Gold is worth $737,000 (Shs2.7b), $369,000 (Shs1.3b) for Silver and bronze comes with $184,000 (Shs680m) in prize money.
The prize money is taxable and awardees are required to return a portion of it to their national sports associations for future training and development.
Singapore’s prize money is 20 times more than USA.
More than 600 US athletes competed at Tokyo 2020.
The US Olympic and Paralympic committee rewards athletes $37,500 (Shs138m) for every gold medal won, $22,500 (Shs83m) for silver and $15,000 (Shs55m) for bronze.
Most of the prize money is not taxable unless athletes report gross income that exceeds $1 million (Shs3.7b).
US athletes also receive other forms of support including health insurance, access to top-tier medical facilities and college tuition assistance for student athletes.
The sporting economy in the US allows athletes to better monetise their talents as most of it is driven by the private sector.
In countries such as Singapore, India and Uganda, many of the national sporting initiatives are driven by governments that sometimes use higher monetary rewards to encourage a growing sporting culture.