Australia’s Olympic medallists will receive an additional $5000 payment in addition to existing medal bonuses after billionaire Harry Triguboff pledged to donate $645,000.

Triguboff, the founder of the Meriton hotel chain, pledged the money on Thursday afternoon, with his unsolicited donation welcomed by the Australian Olympic Committee.

The display of generosity came on the same day the Federal government announced additional funding to pay Paralympic athletes equal bonuses for winning medals.

The 88-year-old said he had been motivated to make the donation in light of the significant disruption to the athletes preparation and finances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that the athletes had provided a much-needed boost to morale with New South Wales and Victoria dealing with lockdowns during the Games.

The donation is in addition to the $20,000 for gold medallists, as well as $15,000 and $10,000 paid to silver and bronze medallists.

“We are always successful at the Olympic Games. However, this time it was especially important because we are close to recession and many people have been impacted by the virus,” Triguboff said.

“The medallists in Tokyo made us all very happy and we were glued to the television and were only thinking of our athletes during this difficult time.”

AOC chairman John Coates thanked the hotel magnate for his contribution on Thursday afternoon.

“Harry is hugely proud of what our Team achieved in Tokyo, and for him to say thank you in this way is hugely generous and most unexpected,” he said.

“The donation is per medal, so for those Olympians whose efforts were rewarded with multiple medals, it will make coming home to family and friends all the sweeter.

“On behalf of the AOC, and in particular our 99 medals winners, we say thank you, Harry.”

Source: Chris Young