Russia announces cash prizes for World University medallists

Moscow, May 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s federal government will pay out roughly $5,400 to Russian gold medallists at this summer’s University Games in the Russian city of Kazan, according to a decree signed Tuesday by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Silver medallists, meanwhile, will receive a bonus of just over $2,600, while bronze medallists will earn about $1,600, as Russia looks to finish first in the medal table for the third summer Universiade in five years, dating back to the 2005 Games in Izmir, Turkey.

Russia came second with 132 medals, including 42 gold, at the biennial Universiade in Shenzhen in 2011. The host Chinese led with 145 medals and a whopping 75 gold.

Cash disbursements for medallists at international competitions are not uncommon for federal sports bodies, with many countries and athletes viewing them as incentives as much as they do rewards.

While battling Britain for third place in the gold medal table at the London Olympics, Russia promised its athletes $135,000 if they stood atop the podium, but ultimately finished five golds short with 24.

It was reported last year that 204 National Olympic Committees had bonus programs for their medal winners.

In addition to prizes for university athletes, the decree Tuesday awards coaches of gold medallists about $2,500. Silver medal coaches receive $1,200 and bronze medal trainers take home about $800.

The money will be put up by Russia’s sports ministry and the Russian Students Sports Union (RSSU), the document said. Both bodies are involved in organising the Games, which run from July 6 through 17.

Earlier this week, the RSSU said 663 Russian athletes are expected to compete in Kazan.

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