BETFINAL’S LOOKBACK AT THE WEEKEND –
A few weeks after being dubbed ‘the biggest cheats’ in the sport, Australia had the chance to polish their global sporting image this weekend. Hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games, did the Aussies restore the people’s faith with victory on home soil?
The Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast Australia 4-15 April.
The closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is a pretty big tradition! Millions around the world tune in to celebrate more than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations competing in 17 sports over 11 days. After Australia claimed the 2018 Commonwealth title, what followed was not part of the script.
Traditionally, flag-bearers from each participating country are followed by the games’ competing athletes, who descend together into the stadium to celebrate the final day of the competition in front of a global TV audience. Passionate fans around the world unite, villages come to together, all in the hope of catching a glimpse of their countries sporting heroes for one last time!
However, fans were left disgraced after last night’s closing ceremony ended in disaster when the games organisers unanimously decided to exclude the main features of the show- the athletes themselves!
Australia – the host nation- was desperate to restore faith in their global sporting reputation after the recent ball tampering scandal. Their first chance to do so was this year’s 2018 Commonwealth Games and they managed to botch that too. Shortly after the cricket scandal that rocked the world, Games Organising Committee Chairman,Peter Beattie, said “Our sportsmanship on show during the Commonwealth Games is what the essence of Australia is about — fair sport, no cheating and applauding the winners.” Ironic!
Yet, it seems millions of fans around the world were unable to ‘applaud the winners’ as the 21st Games drew to a close at Carrara Stadium on Sunday night. The organisers’ decision to have athletes enter early into the stadium left them excluded from international TV footage. Consequently, this has left many sports athletes and fans around the world enraged and quite baffled too.
Kurt Fearnley, the wheelchair-racing legend, won gold in his final appearance of his career. He carried the flag for Australia with his whole country behind him. With 80 gold medals in the bag on the Gold Coast, Australia finished the tournament at the top of pile. It could have been the perfect chance to show the world’s solidarity in Australia’s sporting success. It was a moment the world had been waiting to see but sadly, never will.
During the ceremony, athletes were seen leaving the venue less than an hour in. Fans also rushed for the exits, leaving the 35,000 seater stadium full of empty seats. Those who remained were left with a gruelling, lacklustre line-up and long winding speeches. A sour way to end a championship that should have been filled with celebration.
On Monday morning, you’d have expected most Australians to be waking up with that old smile on their facesand a feeling of renewed dignity. However, last night’s scandal saw thousands around the globe fuming, and Australia, once again, on the wrong side of the headlines.
So, should we accept the numerous apologies that Australia have been doling out recently and just move on? Or is it finally time for Australian sport to be reprimanded?