October 16, 2009 09:13
Korean athletes are being promised billions if only they can win a medal in the Daegu World Championships in Athletics 2011. The championships organizing committee estimates that it will cost about W100,000 (US$1=W1,155) to make a gold medal, but a Korean athlete who wins one stands to receive W1 billion as prize money and their coach W500 million, so the actual value to a Korean athlete will be 15,000 times the money.
The Korea Association of Athletics Federations and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Thursday said they will offer W1 billion to a gold medalist and W500 million to their coach, W500 million to a silver medalist and W250 million to the coach, and W200 million to a bronze medalist and W100 million to the coach.
Those are the highest prize money in the history of Korean sports.
The offer was apparently made because sports leaders and the government fear Korea might be humiliated if none of its athletes win medals in an international event being held here. But currently no Korean athletes are within miles of the necessary level of skill.
A total of 19 Korean athletes participated in the Berlin World Championships in Athletics but were all eliminated in qualifying events or ranked in the middle group or bottom group. No Korean athletes have ever won a medal at the athletics world championships.
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