At the next Paralympic Games in Paris, Belgian athletes will receive the same high premiums for their medals as their Olympic counterparts. Inequality is eliminated. Peter Genyn will also receive 50,000 euros for gold, like Nafi Thiam, and no longer have to be satisfied with 15,000 euros.
The unequal compensation between Paralympic and Olympic athletes was denounced at the recent Games in Tokyo. The Olympians received premiums of 50,000, 30,000 and 20,000 euros for gold, silver and bronze, their Paralympic colleagues had to be satisfied with 15,000, 10,000 and 7,500 euros. In addition, there was no premium for the Paralympians for places four to eight, but there was for the Olympians. Amazone Michèle George also had to conclude that she did win two gold medals, but that only the first was rewarded with 15,000 euros. For the second, the premium was halved to 7,500 euros.
Flemish Minister of Equal Opportunities Bart Somers (Open Vld) thought that inequality was unacceptable and demanded action. Federal Secretary of State Sammy Mahdi (CD&V) is now getting rid of it. He is responsible for the National Lottery, which awards the premiums. The Lottery was ordered to pay out exactly the same amounts from Paris.
“All athletes are working very hard towards the Games. It is therefore only logical that their efforts are rewarded in the same way. Our Paralympics deserve just as much respect and appreciation as our Olympic athletes.”
Mahdi is investigating whether the Paralympians can still get as much for Tokyo 2020 as the Olympians. That is not obvious, because in the current regime some risk losing part of their replacement income as a disabled person if they pay a higher premium.
For Tokyo 2020, the National Lottery paid out 664,000 euros in premiums for the Olympic athletes and their coaches. According to Mahdi, an identical amount will be made available for the Paralympians for Paris 2024.