Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has rewarded all the SA Olympic and Paralympic podium finishers from the Tokyo Games 2020 with cheques ranging from R25 000 to R200 000 per person. The cash incentives were awarded per medal, meaning that if an athlete won two gold medals, they would be eligible to receive double the amount of the medal’s cash value.
Athletes who won gold medals were awarded a R100 000 cash incentive, while those who bagged silver and bronze, received cash prizes of R50 000 and R25 000 respectively.
At the prize giving ceremony held at TSAM Head Quarters in Sandton, a total of R775 000 in prize money was awarded to SA medalists, including Ntando Mahlangu (R200 000) for gold in Men’s Long Jump T63 and gold in 200 T61; Tatjana Schoenmaker (R150 000) for gold in Women’s 200m Breaststroke and silver in 100m Breaststroke; Pieter du Preez (R100 000) for gold in Men’s Paracycling H1; Anruné Weyers (R100 000) for gold in Women’s 400m T47; Louzanne Coetzee (R75 000) for silver in Women’s 1500m T11 and bronze in Women’s marathon T12; Bianca Buitendag (R50 000) for silver in Women’s Surfing and Sheryl James (R25 000) in Women’s 400m T37.
Coetzee’s guides Erasmus Badenhorst and Claus Kempen were also awarded R50 000 and R25 000, respectively, which is commensurate with her podium finishes in mixed class for the visually impaired. The prize giving event was also attended by President of SASAPD, Moekie Grobelaar.
Toyota believes that investing in athletes helps to ensure that sport is strategically positioned to play its part in the entertainment arena while also fostering social cohesion. According to Lettie Labuschagne, General Manager of Marketing Communications at TSAM: “Our involvement in sport is a multilayered one, and our partnerships are all-encompassing as can be evidenced in the TMC and IOC/IPC partnership, TSAM and SASAPD association as well as TSAM’s investment through individual ambassadorships.”
From a global perspective, it was in 2017 when parent company Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that Toyota would become the official worldwide mobility partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) up to 2024. This period covers the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (Korea) and Beijing 2022 (China); Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Japan) as well as Paris 2024 (France).
As a partner, Toyota has committed to encourage the creation of a peaceful society without discrimination through sports as well as to promote a sustainable society through mobility. Toyota believes that mobility goes beyond cars; it is about overcoming challenges and making dreams come true, which is encapsulated in the company's “Start Your Impossible” corporate initiative. The initiative is the basis for Toyota’s transformation from a car company to a mobility company.
From a local perspective, TSAM and the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) are well into the third year of their partnership to promote some of the sporting codes offered at Paralympic level for athletes with disabilities. The partnership has seen Toyota donate two Quantum minibuses to deserving SASAPD-affiliated schools thus far.
“Our involvement with SASAPD is so much more than just sponsorship of the games. It is about leaving a lasting legacy and assisting to uplift the status of SASAPD. Our main objective is to help level the playing ground in sport and promote SASAPD to the status it deserves. We are both thrilled and humbled that one of our ambassadors Ntando Mahlangu had set the world ablaze with his performances at the recent games,” concluded Labuschagne.