Narrow the "prize gap" for Olympics and Paralympics winners, medalist calls

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Boccia player Leung Yuk-wing called for the narrowing of the "prize gap" for Olympics and Paralympics winners upon his triumphant return to Hong Kong.

Leung won silver in the mixed pair BC4 event at the Tokyo Paralympics with teammate Vivian Lau. He also won bronze in the individual BC4 event, making him the athlete with the most wins in the Tokyo Paralympics this year.

Talking to the media upon his return at Hong Kong International Airport, Leung, who completed his fifth Paralympics, said the massive coverage of the Paralympics gave them  the encouragement to chase their dreams and goals.

“However, the difference between the prize money given to Olympians and Paralympians is huge. As the time and effort paid by all athletes is the same, the gap should be narrowed,” he called.

Under the Henderson Land Commendation Scheme for Elite Athletes, the prize for a silver medal-winning team in the Paralympics is HK$800,000, while a silver medal-winning team in the Olympics is entitled to HK$5,000,000 in cash.

A bronze medalist in an individual event at the Paralympics can receive HK$200,000, while a bronze medalist in the Olympics will get HK$1.25 million.

His teammate, Ho Yuen-kei said advancing to the semifinals of the class BC3 pairs event was a challenging ride, dding that she was emotional to have achieved such results.

She also thanked residents for their support: “We only live once, regardless of whether or not we are disabled. A long as we have a dream, we should persevere. Remember family members and friends who always stand by your side, and live a brilliant life."

Nikki Tang, who ranked 11th in the class T20 long jump, said the heavy rain during the event affected his performance. But he said the Paralympics was a perfect experience for him. He also thanked his family and coach for their support, which he said gave him the motivation and courage to compete in the Paralympics. Tang also hopes he can renew his personal best during the Asian Para Games next year, which will be held in Hangzhou, China.