Masters Games entrants still ‘out of pocket’

CONTESTANTS of an event, abruptly cancelled last month, claim they remain empty-handed despite promises of a full refund.

One month has passed since Wagga Wagga Masters Games was canned and as the 28-day deadline passes, so too do hopes of seeing money returned.

The inaugural event was advertised as a “must attend” competition for athletes over the age of 30, promising live entertainment, comedy, magic, fireworks, a sportsmen’s dinner and a Guinness World Record attempt. 

However, it has turned into a black hole of disappointment, lost money and unanswered questions. 

The cancellation left a trail of destruction in its wake, with more than 1400 competitors out of pocket. If each contestant paid the $150 fee, the amount owed would be more than $200,000. 

Event organiser, Brendon Meynell – who could not be reached despite multiple attempts – on September, 12 said:

“All registrants will receive a refund, all sponsors will receive their funding back, and Beyondblue will also receive the funds that had been pledged”.

But Albury competitor Sally Dulhunty confirmed she and her teammates had heard nothing from Mr Meynell and had received no refund.

Canberra athlete Marnie Hodsdon said she and her teammates were in the same boat.

Mr Meynell apologised for the cancellation last month, citing a list of excuses that shifted blame to Wagga City Council, sponsorship problems and issues in his personal life. 

At the time, Wagga City Council said they were forced to recall the event’s site bookings, after Mr Meynell failed to provide essential information and event details, including public liability insurance.

The event organiser also failed to communicate with council and missed a number of planned meetings, spanning across several months. 

According Mr Meynell, several businesses across the city had agreed to sponsor the event; however, all denied involvement and said no money was pledged or exchanged.

He said Wagga RSL Club had “signed on to become its “platinum sponsor” and implied Hunter Clothing had provided $1000 to become a “silver sponsor”. 

Both organisations denied involvement.

The Games’ beneficiary, Beyondblue also confirmed no money had been received.