"The scheme has been designed to be a positive investment in our athletes."
Commonwealth Games Scotland have announced a £300,000 funding pool for Scottish medalists at the multi-sport event held in Glasgow 2014.
The Medalist Reward Scheme is being used as an initiative to boost Scotland’s performance on home soil.
The scheme was first introduced at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, aiming to reward athletes who win a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal.
Athlete’s will earn £10,000 for Gold, £5,000 for Silver and £2,500 for a Bronze medal. Money from the scheme will be allocated to individual competitors once they have retired from their respective sport. This money is to aid a period of uncertainty for many professional athletes.
A maximum of £75,000 will be paid for each sporting discipline. If it exceeds this amount then it will be shared out accordingly. The final earnings will be announced at the end of the Games.
With Scotland receiving extra funding as hosts, the amount has doubled as compared to the Games in Delhi 2010.
Speaking about the benefits of the scheme, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, Michael Cavanagh said:
“The Medallists Reward Scheme is designed to give athletes a boost at that financially uncertain time when they make the often difficult decision to give up competing in their chosen sport.”
“For some of them it can be quite difficult to make the change, and this will help them out. Sometimes it’s used if an athlete wants to retrain — we had someone after Delhi who became a personal trainer and that’s how they make a living. Other people put a deposit down on a house because they were getting married.”
The funds will be held by Commonwealth Games Scotland until retirement, and will be increased year on year in accordance with the Retail Price Index.
The money maybe paid sooner in sports where the retirement age is higher, such as bowls or shooting, but as part of the criteria, one Commonwealth cycle must have passed.
Questions are often asked about whether athletes need financial incentives to compete and win at the highest level. Some will argue that it degrades the Commonwealth Games, an event that already, from time to time, struggles with its reputation.
As the money will only be given after retirement, many believe it is being used responsibly in a period of uncertainty for most professional athletes.
“The scheme has been designed to be a positive investment in our athletes that is affordable, fair and equitable across all 17 sports on the Glasgow 2014 programme.” Cavanagh added.
Incentives at the top level of sport are not uncommon, and not without dividing opinion.In the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup, Cameroon were threatening not to go to Brazil in a dispute over wages.
Although football is a far more lucrative sport, it still surprises many that players are paid so much to have the honour of representing their country.
Scotland is not the only nation to have introduced the scheme, with Ghana launching a similar initiative and the USA spending millions on their athletes in the Olympic Games.
With thousands of athletes taking part in the Games, Scotland will be hoping that this initiative will not just act as an incentive, but to help the Scottish athletes to bigger and better things in the future.
Athletes who manage to dominate the world stage, such as Usain Bolt, can rake in huge commercial deals, but for many, this simply isn’t the reality of elite sport.
Double Commonwealth Games Gold medallist David Carry, paid tribute to the scheme saying:
“Funds from the Medallists Reward Scheme really helped me when I stopped competing and it’s fantastic to see it being announced again for Team Scotland medallists at Glasgow 2014.”
Someone who will certainly be feeling the benefit of the initiative is young swimmer Ross Murdoch. The 19 year-old has been somewhat of a Scottish sensation at this year’s Games.
Having won a Gold and Bronze medal at Glasgow, Ross will already have a significant retirement fund to his name.
For any young aspiring athlete, it’s a big motivating factor to know that one day all their hard work and sacrifices will pay off.
This is an initiative that surely seems to be working for the Scot’s as they remain on track for one of their best ever medal hauls.
With thirteen Golds and thirty-three medals so far, Team Scotland have already bettered the eleven Golds and twenty-nine medals they achieved in Melbourne, eight years ago.
Scotland are on course to beat their best ever medal haul of thirty-three, achieved at the Edinburgh Games in 1986.