BUCHAREST — Romania gave record cash awards totalling over $2 million on Wednesday to medal winners and their coaches at the Sydney Olympic Games.

‘The total amount given to the Romanian medallists and to performers who scored points in Sydney, as well as to their coaches, was the equivalent of US$2,088,000,’ Romanian Olympic Committee (COR) spokeswoman Ivana Iancu told Reuters.

‘Never in the past has Romania offered such a big sum to Olympic performers,’ she added.

Romania finished 11th in the Olympic standings, with a total of 26 medals, 11 of them gold.

Iancu said that gymnast Simona Amanar received the biggest lump sum of US$77,000 for two golds and a bronze.

Amanar, 21, announced her retirement from the sport earlier this month, saying it was very important to know how and when to take such a decision.

Swimmer Diana Mocanu, 16, double backstroke gold medallist, pocketed US$70,000, while tiny gymnast Andreea Raducan received US$66,000.

Raducan lost US$30,000 after the International Olympic Committee in Australia stripped her of the all-round gold for testing positive for pseudoephedrine, contained in a pill administered by the team doctor to cure a cold.

Local businessmen offered extra bonuses to Raducan and Prime Minister Mugur Isarescu approved a decree granting her US$30,000, double the amount initially offered by the government to the Sydney gold medallists.

Source: SOCOG