The Macau government yesterday gave HK$10.2 million to a visiting 70-member delegation that includes the nation’s 47 London Olympics gold medallists.
A spokesperson for the Macau government told The Macau Post Daily the amount was an “award” to be shared among the gold medallists. The spokesperson did not say how the money would be shared among the athletes.
If shared equally among the 47 gold medallists, each of them would receive HK$217,021. The 47 athletes won a total of 38 gold medals in London.
An informed source, which declined to be named, told The Macau Post Daily that for “reasons of practicality and convenience” the cheque was not issued in the local pataca currency but in Hong Kong dollars.
When the mainland’s 2008 Beijing Olympics’ 63 gold medallists – who won a total of 51 gold medals – visited Macau, the government presented them with a cheque amounting to HK$10.6 million.
In Hong Kong, the gold medallists received a total award of HK$25.2 million from a number of enterprises.
The delegation’s other 23 members are coaches and officials.
Before a banquet for the delegation hosted by the government at Macau Dome in Cotai, Chief Executive Chui Sai On handed a symbolic cheque to two members of the delegation – Zou Shiming who won the men’s boxing light flyweight (49 kg) gold medal and Yi Siling who won the first gold medal of the Games and for China in the women’s 10-metre air rifle.
In a speech addressing the banquet, Chui said he believed that the three-day visit of the gold medalists and the other delegation members would promote the development of local sports.
Chui’s predecessor, Edmund Ho Hau Wah, Central People’s Government Liaison Office Director Bai Zhijiang, Foreign Ministry Commissioner Hu Zhengyue and Macau Garrison People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Commander Zhu Qingsheng were among the 250 guests at the banquet.
Delegation head Liu Peng thanked local residents for supporting the development of the mainland’s sports sector.
The delegation arrived at the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal yesterday afternoon with about 500 school children, residents and visitors on hand to greet them waving national and regional flags. The delegation arrived fresh from a three-day trip to Hong Kong.
A schoolboy told reporters he was quite upset that none of the athletes shook hands with any of the crowd that had gathered to greet them as he had expected to have some kind of interaction with them.
During the three-day visit, the medallists will give local athletes and schoolchildren an insight into their training programmes in a question-and-answer session, attend an evening welcoming party today, as well visit local tourist spots including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed St. Paul’s Ruins.
The delegation will leave for Beijing from the local airport tomorrow morning.
In the London Olympics, the mainland team won 88 medals, Taiwan (officially known at the Olympics as Chinese Taipei) won silver and a bronze medal, and Hong Kong garnered a bronze medal.
Macau is not a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). (macaunews)