Sawan Serasinghe wants to supersize the future of Australian badminton
It’s not uncommon to treat yourself after a hard game or a long run, but it takes an athletic effort to devour 8,000 calories worth of McDonald’s in one hit.
Australian badminton player Sawan Serasinghe made headlines at the Rio 2016 Olympics when he had a fast food feast including six burgers, six chocolate brownies, four boxes of chicken nuggets and six large fries.
At GC2018, the only thing he wants on the menu is a medal.
“I definitely want to end up on the podium,” he said.
“I’m playing two events so even more chance to get there in one of them, or hopefully both.”
Wow what a week it has been in Rio! Have to say I am disappointed about the match today. We definitely had a good chance to stretch the match to three sets toward the end of the second set but couldn't close it out. We would have loved to end our first Olympic campaign with a win against a much higher ranked pair. Although having said that, there are lots of good things to learn from the matches in the last three days playing against more experienced pairs. Can't wait to go back home to start training and keep on improving! Just want to say thanks again to everyone back home for the on going support. Definitely motivated me to fight hard on court everyday! ❤️ Now it's time to eat some junk food after months of eating clean! 😀
As well as a medal or two, Serasinghe is hoping the exposure of the Games will have an impact on badminton’s future in Australia.
He coaches junior athletes at his long-time club in Melbourne and has seen the talent that is emerging at the grass roots level.
“I think the popularity is definitely increasing,” he said.
“There’s a massive social/casual scene already in Australia and especially Victoria, because I live there and I get to see it.
“The popularity is growing a lot so hopefully these people that are playing at a casual level get more exposure to what the professional level is like.”
Serasinghe counts England, Malaysia and India as the countries to beat, “they have a lot of depth and experience and high level players coming up,” but he expects the home crowd to play a factor in the results.
“I think the major difference [to other international events] will be knowing the majority of the supporters are Australians, hopefully,” he said.
“I think that will be the difference, knowing the crowd is behind you and having that home crowd advantage.”
With six days of training per week – mostly double sessions – Serasinghe’s Rio maccas splurge was well-deserved, but he insists he won’t be making it a tradition.
“It’s not a ritual or anything but that one, I went too crazy and caught everyone’s attention,” Serasinghe told GC2018.com.
“I do pig out a little bit after tournaments, because the prep is pretty intense usually.
“We have a lot of training camps and stuff and we slowly start putting in more sessions during the weekly schedule, then nutrition and eating and recovery-wise, everything has to be very on point.”
The doubles player, who has been playing for as long as he can remember, can’t imagine life any other way.
“I’ve been doing this since I was five so it’s kind of part of my life now."
Serasinghe first started playing badminton when he was living in Sri Lanka and won his first national title in the under 10s.
That was the moment it clicked.
“That’s when I kind of felt like, I can compete at a high level and win tournaments and maybe I can continue to do this for a long time,” he explained.
Serasinghe has been on the rise ever since. At 24, he has nine Oceania championship titles to his name. He competed at the Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney in 2013 and finished ninth in the men’s doubles competition in Rio.
He will compete in the men’s and mixed doubles events at GC2018. Beyond the Games, his aim is to chip away at the top spots on the world rankings.