By Laura Kemp • 19 January 2022 • 13:59
"Rules apply to everyone" - surfing legend BANNED from competing if unvaccinated. Image - Wiki
In the wake of the Novak Djokovic vaccination saga, surfing legend Kelly Slater has been warned by Sports Minister Richard Colbeck has that he will be banned from competing in Australia if he’s unvaccinated because the “rules apply to everyone.”
The 11-time world surfing champion, 49, has not yet revealed whether he has been vaccinated, however, he caused controversy online with anti-vax rhetoric on his social media pages during the pandemic.
Mr Colbeck said he will face being banned just like tennis star Novak Djokovic who was sensationally deported out of the country before the Australian Open.
The Sports Minister told the Sydney Morning Herald: “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.”
“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.”
The Australian Government is taking strict measures on unvaccinated international athletes amid surging cases of Omicron and supply chain issues.
All non-citizens have been restricted from travelling down under if they have not been vaccinated unless rare exemptions can be approved.
Slater’s views on the life-saving vaccines have caused controversy during the global pandemic, with one of his Instagram posts stating: “If I know the risks (informed consent) and I judge the choice to be one that benefits/hurts me based on stats and info and my own ability (health), I can choose accordingly.”
“For people saying listen to the doctors, I’m positive I know more about being healthy than 99 per cent of doctors, but I wouldn’t trust me. But most of my Covid info comes directly from doctor friends, many of them in disagreement with the official ‘science’.”
The surfing champion also claimed some of his friends have “literally died” after having the jab and that it caused his mother’s quality of life to decline.
He faced heavy backlash when he said the virus is a “disease of obese, unhealthy, and elderly,” claiming Covid “exposes the unhealthy underlying patterns and issues in people.”
His claims have been dismissed by medical experts.
The WSL Asia-Pacific general manager Andrew Stark said that there is no mandate for surfers to be vaccinated but the league will “stringently follow the set government entry guidelines of each country we visit for our events.”
“We encourage everyone who is able to get vaccinated and have advised everyone associated with the WSL that unvaccinated individuals may face significant challenges as they travel around the world and may be prohibited from entering certain countries.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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