Three-time Paralympian Amanda Reid has won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics after her victory in the women’s C1-3 500 metre cycling time trial.
The 24-year-old reigning world champion broke her world record for the C2 classification, setting a new time of 38.487 seconds.
Reid, who has cerebral palsy and an intellectual impairment, said she hopes to inspire other Indigenous Australians with disabilities to follow after her and participate in sporting activities.
“It means everything to me to be a proud Guring-gai and Wemba-Wemba woman and to represent my people back home,” she said after her win.
“I’m hoping I can encourage more Aboriginal disabled athletes to get into sport.”
Amanda Reid has written her name into the history books becoming the first Aboriginal Australian to claim a cycling gold medal at a #Paralympics: https://t.co/f4PSL52XYl#ReadySetTokyo #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/m61ryTNPRj
— AUS Paralympic Team (@AUSParalympics) August 27, 2021
Paralympics Australia has come under scrutiny this Paralympic Games when reports indicated Aussie Paralympians won’t be paid like their Olympic counterparts for winning medals in Tokyo.
Australian Olympic athletes received cash prizes for winning medals at Tokyo, with gold worth AUD$20,000, silver worth $15,000 and bronze worth $10,000.
The national committees for the Olympic and Paralympic teams are responsible for funding the medal bonuses and in a report by the SBS, a spokesperson for Paralympics Australia said they “simply don’t have the funds”.
While the theme for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is ‘unity in diversity’, this does not apply to equality in athletes’ cash prizes.
Australia isn’t the only country who doesn’t pay their Paralympians for medals, Canadian Paralympians receive nothing while Aotearoa/New Zealand doesn’t award cash prizes to their Olympians or Paralympians.
Sprinter Scott Reardon said he believes if the committee did have the funds they would be all for paying the Paralympians.
“In a perfect world, we would have equality across the board — in men’s sport, women’s sport, para-sport. But the reality is we are treated differently, and we lag behind.”
“There’s a lot of para-athletes who simply don’t make much money. They have to work full-time and be a full-time athlete at the same time. It’s not conducive at all to being the best in the world,” Reardon said.
“I know a lot of Paralympic gold medallists who do not have a sponsor, who do not have a commercial agreement with any company, and I think that needs to change.”
Australia is currently sitting at eighth spot with 37 medals; eight gold, 16 silver, 13 bronze.
By Teisha Cloos