Aussie athlete's incredible act amid Paralympic Games 'disgrace'

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Chloe Dalton, pictured here in action for Australia in rugby sevens.
Chloe Dalton (R) has launched a fundraising campaign for her Paralympic compatriots. Image: Getty

Aussie Olympian Chloe Dalton has stepped up to the plate after it emerged the country's Paralympic medallists don't get paid like their able-bodied counterparts.

Australia's Olympic heroes were awarded cash prizes for winning medals at the Tokyo Games, with $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.

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But it emerged recently that Australia's medallists at the Paralympics get nothing because of a lack of funding.

The disparity made headlines around Australia, with fans labelling the farce "shameful" and a "disgrace".

One person who decided to take action was rugby sevens and AFLW player Dalton, who won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Dalton has set up a 'GoFundMe' page to raise money for our Paralympic medallists.

The page had raised $68,000 in three days at time of publishing, but Dalton hopes she can make it to $100,000.

The plan is to share the money equally with all of Australia's medal winners at the Paralympics.

“I assumed it was going to be the same for Australian Paralympians,” Dalton told The Guardian

“So I was pretty shocked when it came out that they actually received nothing when they win a medal.

"With the required preparation for an event like that on the world stage, there’s just no reason as to why they shouldn’t be paid the same.”

Chief executive Lynne Anderson said Paralympics Australia simply doesn't have the funding to offer cash prizes to medallists.

“Paralympics Australia absolutely agrees that our Paralympians deserve equity of recognition,” she said. 

“PA has never had a funding program for Paralympic Games medallists as we just don’t have this funding available from grants or sponsorship. This is something we will look at again after the Tokyo Games.”

Aussie gold medallist Paige Greco, pictured here with her gold medal at the Paralympics.
Aussie gold medallist Paige Greco poses with her gold medal at the Paralympics. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Aussies outraged by pay disparity for Paralympic athletes

According to The Guardian, Paralympics Australia received $3 million from the federal government in 2021 to support high-performance programs.

PA reported $13 million in revenue last year, compared with the Australian Olympic Committee’s $26.5m.

It has since emerged that some Paralympic medallists will be paid crash prizes by individual sporting organisations.

America and a number of other countries moved to award their Paralympic athletes with the same cash prizes as Olympians at this year's Games.

But Canada is another country where Paralympians get nothing, while New Zealand doesn't award cash prizes to Olympians or Paralympians.

Host nation Japan awards Paralympic gold medallists $38,000, but that's still $25,000 less than their Olympic compatriots.

Serena Ovens, CEO of the Physical Disability Council of NSW, told SBS she believes in Australia "we absolutely still see disability as something less".

"We prize our Olympians but still don't think our Paralympians have attained the same sort of elite level," she said.

"Paralympians work as hard, if not harder, to get to where they're at to compete for their country."

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