Big bucks for Rio’s riches

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Shayne Fair­man Gleaner Writer

OLIVIA ‘BABSY’ Grange, min­is­ter of cul­ture, gen­der af­fairs, en­ter­tain­ment & sport, re­vealed that the Govern­ment will spend over $82 mil­lion to honour their Olympic and Par­lympic stars this He­roes week­end for their rich medal re­turns from the Sum­mer Games.

The cel­e­bra­tions will run from Oc­to­ber 14-16.

“The cel­e­bra­tion is cost­ing, al­to­gether when to­talled up, the amount for the cash award (to the del­e­ga­tion) is Ja­maican $42 mil­lion, and the re­main­der in cash and kind would be an­other $40 mil­lion in cash and kind (to stage the three-day event),” Grange told The Gleaner.

Ac­cord­ing to Grange, the hard work and ex­ploits of Ja­maican athletes at the Olympics and Par­lympics in Rio, Brazil, could not go down without a na­tional cel­e­bra­tion.

“A spe­cial plan­ning com­mit­tee was con­vened to dis­cuss how best to demon­strate, in tan­gi­ble ways, our grat­i­tude to our athletes and their man­age­ment team. What­ever we do, ladies and gen­tle­men, we ac­knowl­edge that there can be no mon­e­tary award that is ad­e­quate to demon­strate our appreciation of the achieve­ments of our cham­pi­ons,” she ex­plained.

Grange was speak­ing dur­ing the launch of what was ti­tled ‘A Pro­gramme of cel­e­bra­tion for Rio Olympians and Par­a­lympians’, which was held at the Span­ish Court Ho­tel in New Kingston yes­ter­day.

Ja­maica’s 63-mem­ber Olympic team fin­ished 16th over­all and third in the track and field ath­let­ics cat­e­gory be­hind Kenya and the United States of Amer­ica.

CENTY

The na­tion’s Olympic he­roes re­turned 11 medals: six gold, two sil­ver and three bronze, while a three-mem­ber Par­a­lympic team rep­re­sented Ja­maica at the Games in the same coun­try.

Grange ex­plained that the sport­ing he­roes will be cel­e­brated and re­warded, in keep­ing with the ex­ist­ing pol­icy, de­spite the coun­try’s lim­ited re­sources.

“We hope that this, in some way, will give cre­dence to our grat­i­tude, so for the awards, we looked at other coun­tries and we tried our best within our lim­ited re­sources to pro­vide the mon­e­tary re­ward in keep­ing with the ex­ist­ing pol­icy,” Grange pointed out.

Ac­cord­ing to the sport min­is­ter, it is value for money and “not just hav­ing a big party”.

There will be an im­prove­ment

in prize monies for athletes this year, adding the 2012 Lon­don Olympics fig­ure.

The re­ward sys­tem for athletes will be as fol­lows; for a gold medal, athletes will re­ceive US$10,000, US$7,500 for sil­ver and US$5,000 for bronze.

For re­lay gold medals the equiv­a­lent of US$6,000 will be shared by all six squad mem­bers, and for re­lay sil­ver, the amount to be shared is US$4,000. Re­lay bronze medal squad mem­bers will split US$3,500.

NONE LEFT OUT

Also, fi­nal­ists who did not medal will re­ceive US$3,500 and non-fi­nal­ists will get US$2,500.

Grange said they did not “want to leave any­one out, so man­agers and the of­fi­cials will get a touch, and they will, each get the equiv­a­lent of US$1,000”.

The same pay struc­ture ap­plies to Par­a­lympians.

Mean­while, 17 athletes will be flown in from over­seas for the three days of cel­e­bra­tions.

The athletes will be the guests of honour at a sports gala and awards cer­e­mony to be held at the Na­tional In­door Sports Cen­tre on Satur­day.

Prior to that, on Fri­day, Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness will host a re­cep­tion on the lawns of Ja­maica House in their honour.

On Sun­day, Ja­maica Na­tional will host a 5K Run/Walk fundraiser for char­i­ties in west­ern Ja­maica, spon­sored by the JN Group and sup­ported by the Usain Bolt Foun­da­tion, in Fal­mouth, Trelawny, as part of the fes­tiv­i­ties.

It will fol­low with a west­ern Ja­maica re­cep­tion at 7 p.m. at the Braco Melia Ho­tel, co-hosted by the min­istries of Cul­ture, Gen­der Af­fairs, En­ter­tain­ment and Sport, and Tourism.

GRANGE

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