KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Sept 98 (Bernama):

BY Arul Rajoo

A total of RM2.2 million would be given to Malaysian athletes who won 10 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze medals in the 16th Commonwealth Games which ended here yesterday.

Youth and Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced today that the cash rewards would given at a special ceremony on Oct 3 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The 36 medal haul was Malaysia's biggest ever achievement in the Games since it first took part in the Commonwealth Games in 1950. The government had allocated RM160 million for the athletes's preparation.

Under the National Sports Council (NSC)'s incentive scheme, individual gold medallist will receive RM80,000 while silver and bronze medallists gets RM40,000 and RM20,000 respectively.

For teams with more than six members, each athlete will get RM15,000 for a gold medal followed by RM8,000 and RM4,000 each for silver and bronze.

Bowler Kenny Ang, who won the men's singles event and shared the gold with Ben Heng in the men's doubles, and weightlifter Muhamad Hidayat Hamidon, who won a gold and a silver -- will get the biggest cake of RM120,000 each.

Other gold medallists are the men's badminton team, Wong Choon Hann, Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah, shooter Nurul Huda Baharin, walker G. Saravanan, the women's rhythmic gymnastics and boxer Sapok Biki.

National Sports Council (NSC) Director-General Datuk Mazlan Ahmad said athletes who performed well in the Games but were not in the Jaya 98's Category A programme would have their payment back-dated to March.

"Category A athletes got their allowances from March while others in the final squad will get it from August. But we will pay those who performed well here but were not selected in March," he said.

Mazlan also refuted 50km-walk champion Saravanan's claim that he did not receive any financial assistance.

"He was selected under Category A but he opted out. He wanted to stay out," Mazlan said.

On the future of foreign coaches who were recruited to help in Malaysia's preparation, Mazlan said some would be retained for another two years. -- BERNAMA


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