The sporting community has welcomed President Abdulla Yameen’s decision to award cash prizes for medals in international sporting events. Hassan Saaid, who won a gold and a silver medal in the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG), will receive a prize of MVR350,000 (US$22,698).
Yameen announced a new national sports reward scheme at a ceremony held to welcome all the Maldivian athletes who had participated in the IOIG. Maldives had won eight medals.
Under the new policy, MVR250,000 (US$16,212) will be awarded for all gold medalists, MVR100,000 (US$6,485) to all silver medalists and MVR20,000 (US$1,297) to all bronze medalists.
For team events, MVR35,000 (US$2,270) will be awarded for each gold medal winning team member, MVR 25,000 (US$1,621) for silver medal winning members and MVR15,000 (US$973) for bronze medal winning members.
Ajufan Rasheed, who won the bronze in the men’s badminton singles, said Maldives’ success at the IOIG has shown the world that with “commitment, discipline and training, Maldives can shine in the international sports arena.”
He thanked the Maldivian government for setting up a national policy to reward athletes for their performances, describing the move as “highly encouraging.”
“This is an incentive for athletes to train even harder,” he added.
Ahmed Marzouq, the secretary general of the Maldives Olympic Committee, welcomed the government’s sports reward “as a move taken in the right direction, to encourage and pave way for further successes for Maldivian athletes.”
“One of the biggest obstacles we face is that parents do not want to send their kids, despite their talent, to training facilities because of the lack of recognition even with success. This scheme changes that,” he said.
He thanked the Maldivian sporting community and “especially the athletes” for their “perseverance and support.”
The Maldives won one gold, two silvers and five bronze medals at the IOIG.
Shamha Ahmed, who represented Maldives in the women’s 10 km race, won the bronze medal by completing the event in 45 minutes, setting a new national record.
The men’s badminton team won the silver medal.
Maldives won bronze medals in women’s badminton and table tennis.
The Maldives competed against Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte and Reunion in 14 sporting events including athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, handball, judo, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, and weightlifting.