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S Korea offers US$50,000 award to Olympic gold medalists
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South Korean government official said Tuesday that it will award 50,000 U.S. dollars to the South Korean athlete who wins a gold medal in the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, silver medalists will receive 25,000 U.S. dollars and those who win bronze are to receive 15,000 U.S.dollars.

"We have decided to raise the amount drastically because we are expecting intense competition between our athletes and Chinese rivals," said Choi Jong-hark, who takes charge of sporting affairs at the ministry.

The ministry will dole out 40,000 U.S. dollars for each gold medalist, while the Korean Olympic Committee will provide 10,000 U.S. dollars to the gold medalist, Choi said.

Coaches of gold-medal-winning athletes will be paid 80,000 U.S. dollars each.

The financial rewards for medal winners are to be more than double those given for the 2004 Athens Olympics, Choi said.

South Korea aims to win 10 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, which is to open on Aug. 8, and expects to reach the top ten in the medal rankings.

(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2008)

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