Sports and fitness authorities have congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison for being a role model to Australians wanting to exercise more and improve their health after detecting a rise in interest in tennis, soccer, cricket, and lawn bowls — all sports he was captured playing on the campaign trail last week.
But they also say they are greatly disappointed that the upsurge in physical activity in those pastimes has been more than offset by a huge drop in the number of Australians who admit they have stopped jogging or running after witnessing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s efforts during the campaign (main picture).
Last week when campaigning in various centres around the nation Mr Morrison was filmed and photographed heading a soccer ball, hitting a tennis ball, barefoot bowling, and playing cricket (pictured).
The Bug contacted the peak bodies representing the four sports and each said they had experienced an unprecedented upsurge in enquiries from Australians wanting to try their hand at soccer, tennis, bowls, and cricket.
Cricket Australia said clubs around the nation had reported a deluge of applications from men and women of all ages wanting to join their local clubs. Soccer’s governing body, the Football Federation of Australia, Tennis Australia, and Bowls Australia all reported a dramatic rise in interest in their sports across Australia and at all skills levels.
All peak groups said Mr Morrison had performed an invaluable public service by showcasing sports that average Australians could join in and the long-term outcome would be a healthier nation.
But a spokesperson for Athletics Australia said when it came to running and jogging the picture was not as rosy with both pastimes suddenly and rapidly losing numbers.
“We’ve had long-time runners and joggers ring in to tell us they are giving the sport away,” the spokesperson said.
“Without fail every one of them cites Bill Shorten as the reason. They have all seen him repeatedly on TV during the current federal election campaign running in his, shall I say, unique style (pictured).
“Every caller says they can’t believe that they might look as ungainly and unnatural as Mr Shorten when he runs, and they especially point out his strange splayed footwork and jiggling man boobs.
“Even when our staff try to counsel them and suggest they may not necessarily look as bad as Mr Shorten when they run, they just won’t accept it.
“They simply don’t want to take the risk that they look as woeful as Mr Shorten does, so they’d rather give the sport away and take up something else.
“From the data we’ve collected from the switchboard it seems they are taking up other sports like soccer, tennis, lawn bowls, and cricket.
“Luckily everyone knows Mr Shorten will stop running as soon as the campaign is over and the cameras are packed away so hopefully we can start rebuilding our sport after that,” the spokesperson said.