Tokyo Olympics

SA's Olympic, Paralympic medallists bag more cash as sponsor Toyota steps up

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South African Paralympic gold medallist Ntando Mahlangu in Tokyo
South African Paralympic gold medallist Ntando Mahlangu in Tokyo
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

South Africa's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic heroes were washed with more cash on Friday after Olympic motoring partner Toyota handed cash cheques to the podium finishers.

This came after the sports ministry announced last month a Games bonus package amounting to R450 000 per gold medallist (R120 000 for their coach), R220 000 for silver medallists (coach: R70 000) and R100 000 for bronze achievers (coach: R30 000), with an added R180 000 for breaking a world record.

Japanese automotive company handed out cheques for R100 000 per gold medal, R50 000 for silver and R25 000 for bronze medallists for athletes and their aides.

Tatjana Schoenmaker (R150 000), Ntando Mahlangu (R200 000), Pieter du Preez (R100 000), Louzanne Coetzee (R75 000) and her aide Erasmus Badenhorst (R50 000), Anruné Weyers (R150 000) and Bianca Buitendag were all present to accept their cash prize in Sandton.

"I have to thank Toyota; they believed in the dream even before I went to the Paralympics," said Mahlangu, who is a Toyota brand ambassador.

"I've been their ambassador for three years, and I am grateful to them for believing in me. This [medal] is my way of rewarding them for the love and support they gave me before I was even a two-time gold medallist."

Schoenmaker added that the funds would also help her give back to her swimming community to empower someone else to achieve their dream or learn the basics of swimming.

The 24-year-old brought home gold and silver in the pool last month and broke the 200m women's breaststroke world record with a time of 2:18.95.

"We don't do it for the money, but it's always nice to receive it," she said.

"I know that most of the people sitting here would love to give back, and that's the nice part, to be able to give somebody else an opportunity to reach their dream.

"It's an amazing experience. I'm very blessed that I had parents that were able to get me to where I am, but someone else might not have the same financial background and to give them that chance or basic skill of swimming is a privilege.

"For me, to use that money to make a difference in someone else's life would be amazing."

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