Aussie sports stars and coaches have slammed the decision to pull the plug on the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in regional Victoria.
The reason behind the decision to push is the state’s finance crisis, with Victoria’s debt forecast to hit $135.4 billion in 2024, rising to $171.4 billion by 2026-27.
In a dramatic press conference on Tuesday, Mr Andrews said a spending spree had forced the government’s decision.
Reacting to the shocking decision on Tuesday, a section of Australian sportsmen and sports personalities were furious.
‘It’s really disappointing,’ retired swimmer James Magnussen told SEN radio.
Australian swimming superstar James Magnussen has criticized Dan Andrews’ decision, describing it as “really disappointing”.
Retired tennis star Sam Groth called the decision an embarrassment and extremely damaging to Australia’s international reputation.
‘The Commonwealth Games hold a special place in the hearts of Australian athletes. We don’t get a grand final every year like you do in the football code. We train throughout the year to perform once a year.
‘You’ve got a World Champion year, you’ve got a Low Games year, and you’ve got an Olympic year. Take that out of the cycle and we’re racing once every two years.’
Retired tennis star Sam Groth took to Twitter to complain about the decision, writing: ‘The Premier, Deputy Premier and the Andrews Labor Government have failed regional Victoria.
‘This is an embarrassment and hugely damaging to our international reputation as a global event leader. Labor can no longer be trusted because it keeps breaking its promises.’
Groth also said Labor could no longer be trusted because it kept breaking promises.
Champion beach volleyball player Natalie Cook was also outraged by the shocking news.
‘I’m not often lost for words, but when you hear news like this it’s devastating,’ Cook said.
‘This is a huge blow to our athletes and the green and gold runway we set up at Brisbane 2032.
Champion beach volleyballer Natalie Cook said she was lost for words after the announcement
Iconic sports broadcaster Bruce McAveney says Australia should be embarrassed
‘We set up our multi sports athletes very well and were ready to show Australia the best of what we have on our soil. Now there is a hole in the road.
‘It’s devastating for lesser games like netball, esports and bowls.’
Iconic sports broadcaster Bruce McAveney says Australia should be embarrassed by the farcical decision to cancel the event.
Speaking to 3AW radio, McAveney expressed his shock and disappointment at Tuesday’s announcement and admitted he feared for the event’s future.
‘It’s a big shock. I didn’t see it coming,’ McAvanney told 3AW.
‘It’s a huge challenge for his future now, and from Australia’s point of view and from Victoria’s point of view… it’s an embarrassment for it to be so late.’
Swimming Australia head coach Rohan Taylor hopes the event will be moved, describing the Games as crucial for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
‘It’s disappointing for the Australian public to miss out on what we know is a fantastic opportunity for our athletes to represent their country,’ Taylor told AAP.
Swimming Australia head coach Rohan Taylor was disappointed by the shocking news
‘I’m disappointed they don’t get the chance to do that… Athletes perform in front of home crowds.
‘Hopefully we will see what options the Commonwealth Games Federation comes up with, where it can be held.
“It’s not just swimming, it’s a really important competition for our nation.
‘Hopefully transferred elsewhere.’
Hockey Australia boss David Priles described the news as ‘incredibly disappointing’.
‘Rarely do we get the opportunity to host major sporting events within the Olympic and Commonwealth Games family and an opportunity for our athletes to compete in front of family and friends when, for most of the year, they compete overseas,’ Pryles told Code Sports.
“Sitting here as CEO of Hockey Australia, our Kookaburras have won seven gold medals in a row and our hockey players have certainly got a proud record, so any opportunity to showcase them, especially in Australia, is something we want to do.”