KALIFA CLYNE and JELANI BECKLES
SPORTS MINISTER Shamfa Cudjoe says Special Olympic TT athletes who participated in the recent games in Abu Dhabi will be rewarded for each medal.
During a post-Cabinet press conference yesterday, Cudjoe said each athlete would be rewarded $12,000 for gold medals, $6,000 for silver medals and $3,000 for bronze medals.
She said Cabinet had taken the decision to include Special Olympics athletes in the national sports policy's athletes incentive programme.
The athletes' medal haul at the Special Olympics World Games was 57 medals – 19 gold, 15 silver and 23 bronze.
This amounts to a reward payout of $387,000.
Cudjoe said, "Cabinet would have made a decision today to include the Special Olympics in the incentive and reward framework, so these athletes will now be rewarded for each medal."
The Sports Minister said the new incentive is something other countries have started doing. "This is a new development not just for TT, but for the rest of the world because so far we know of roughly three other countries that have now established giving these incentives for Special Olympics and those are India, Pakistan and Seychelles."
Cudjoe said encouraging special athletes is part of the Ministry's participation policy.
"We have decided to join (the rewards policy drive) and to offer the necessary incentives to inspire and encourage these young people with these special abilities to participate in sport. It is a part of our total participation in sport policy and we intend to continue to work closely with the Special Olympics Committee of TT to get more people of all abilities to participate in sport in TT."