'Hang their heads in shame': Premier scathing over Comm Games closing ceremony decision


Annastacia Palaszczuk says organisers of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games closing ceremony should "hang their head in shame" for not giving athletes the starring role.

The Queensland premier was scathing about the decision to effectively exclude the athletes from the broadcast which traditionally features the teams entering the stadium behind their nation's flag bearer.

"I'm just as disappointed as anyone else. We wanted to stand there and celebrate our athletes and it didn't happen," Ms Palaszczuk said while attending a post Games celebration in Surfers Paradise on Monday morning.

"Whoever made that decision not to allow those athletes to march in should hang their head in shame."

Fans at home and at the ceremony expressed their disappointment at the lack of focus placed on the athletes. Source: Getty
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is disappointed that the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony didn't focus on celebrating the athletes. Source: AAP

The closing ceremony has been criticised as underwhelming, with presenters from broadcast rights' holders the Seven Network slamming organisers for bringing the athletes into Carrara Stadium prior to the broadcast.

The decision denied television viewers the chance to watch retiring para-sports veteran Kurt Fearnley, who won gold in the men's wheelchair marathon, carry the flag into the venue.

Organising committee chairman Peter Beattie has admitted the decision was wrong and will apologise to Fearnley.

However Fearnley tweeted on Monday that the Games was still "one of the best weeks of my life", and urged Australians not to let the closing ceremony detract from the positive aspects of the event.

There were plenty of empty seats at Carrara Stadium for the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Sunday night. Source: 7 News

"Please remember that @GC2018 has been the most inclusive event that our nation has ever hosted. We can't let anything distract from that," he tweeted.

"The team, crowds, staff & volunteers nailed it."

Queensland Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones has praised Mr Beattie for taking responsibility but said many people felt let down.

"Peter Beattie has already said today he takes full responsibility and good on him for owning up to that decision, (but) we expected this closing ceremony to follow the tradition of every closing tradition which is being about the athletes," Ms Jones said.

Channel 7 hosts Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas couldn't hide their disappointment. Source: Channel7

Ms Palaszczuk said that despite the closing ceremony falling flat, the Games was still a great success that would have lasting benefits for the state.

"The Commonwealth Games will leave an outstanding legacy," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"We had over 1500 trade delegates out here and they are very impressed with what they've seen here in Queensland and I expect we are going to reap the benefits including tourism, investment, infrastructure for many decades to come."

The premier said the government would consider a ticker-tape parade for the athletes.