Kelly Slater Has ‘No Chance Of Getting In’ To Australia If Unvaccinated
Sports Minister draws a hard line after Djokovic fiasco.
For the past several weeks, World #1 Tennis superstar, Novak Djokovic’s mug has been plastered across the front page of media outlets.
Because as a high-profile athlete who’s been outspoken against vaccine mandates, he failed to meet the VISA requirements for lawful entry into Australia given the new public health measures.
Djok was subsequently deported back to Serbia, eliminating hopes of winning a 21st Grand Slam title, which would make him the winningest singles player of all time – Currently, he is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam victories.
Off the back of the saga, Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said on Monday that 11x World Champion surf goat, Kelly Slater has “no chance of getting into the country” if he’s not vaccinated ahead of the upcoming WSL events in Bells and Margaret River.
Turning 50, in just a few weeks, this could well be the last time Slats competes in a CT season. If he misses the Aus leg, which includes two out of five events before the mid-season cutoff, the chances of him remaining on the CT should he wish to compete in 23’ will be significantly harder. He did however qualify easily last season only surfing 3/8 events.
The WSL has warned unvaccinated surfers they will face significant hurdles traveling the world if unvaxxed. WSL Asia-Pacific GM Andrew Stark told the Herald and The Age the league would “stringently follow the set government entry guidelines of each country we visit for our events”. This also raised doubts about the mobility of reigning WC, Gabriel Medina’s ability to do the Aus leg whose jab status is unknown.
Slater took to Djok’s defense on IG, posting on social media that “maybe Stockholm Syndrome can now change its name to Melbourne/Australia syndrome” and “so much brainwashed hatred in people’s hearts regardless of vax status”.
According to the SMH:
Mr Colbeck said he had seen Slater’s comments, and while the surfing legend could apply for a medical exemption like anyone else, he would have to prove a contra-indication to the vaccine.
“I reckon he knows the rules. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a surfer, or a tennis player, a tourist or anyone else, those are the rules. They apply to everyone,” Mr Colbeck said. “I don’t like the chances of him competing in Victoria, and I’d hate to think of what the chances were of him competing in Western Australia.”
More to come on this.
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