South Africa’s medallists at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were today appreciated for their efforts by one of their sponsors. Automobile manufacturer and official international partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota gifted the medallists between R25 000 and R250 000 per medal won at the Games.
This is the cream of the crop of South Africa’s athletes from the Summer Tokyo Games. Today, their hard work under trying circumstances was rewarded. They had to adapt due to COVID-19. Anrune Weyers contracted the virus just weeks before the Paralympic Games, putting a third consecutive Summer Games in doubt. Like many of her countrymen and women, she overcame that adversity and found herself at the top of the podium in Tokyo with a gold medal in the T47 400 metres race.
“I think the attention was definitely on the athletes, but not just about the medals and performances I really felt that it was different because I heard incredible stories. The stories from the athletes and it brought tears to my heart to know what that athlete did to get here. Giving their 100% and some of them not getting a medal to know what they went through is something I found that the games enhanced for me,” says Weyers.
New superstars were unearthed in Tokyo. Tatjana Schoemaker won silver and gold medals respectively in the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke events. Bianca Buitendag took silver for South Africa in the women’s shortboard surfing competition. And Ntando Mahlangu won double gold, firstly in the men’s T63 long jump and then in the T61 200 metres. All of them were awarded justly for their efforts.
“We are so honoured to have been able to work with Ntando of the period that we have, who is a brand ambassador for us. And we are extremely proud of him but we are most proud to be associated and are able to support the South African athletes not only for what they achieved but also for inspiring the country, ” says Lettie Labuschagne representing the sponsor.
Mahlangu was the biggest winner at this prize-giving ceremony, walking away with R200 000. Financial reward accepted, but bringing pride to his people is priceless.
“Ama-Ndebele, that is where I come from, those, are my people. I was so proud to have them on my legs, running that 200m I was running with my nation. All those other guys were running alone, I hand my nation on my legs. For me it was an honour as a Ndebele to know that they were there, it was an honour to run with them,” says Mahlangu.
Each medallist who brought home a gold medal was awarded R100 000. Silver medallists took home R50 000, while bronze medallists received R25 000 each.