Welcoming our badminton players home from Rio

Sheryl Goh

Our five Australian Badminton representatives put up a great fight at the Rio 2016 Olympics, although they did not place as well this Games.

Leanne Choo, Sawan Serasinghe and Matthew Chau are three of those five players and they are all currently studying at Monash University. All three are also the reigning Oceania Champions in their respective events.

From L-R: Matthew Chau, Sawan Serasinghe, and Leanne Choo at the Olympic Welcome Home Festival   

Leanne Choo is no stranger to the Games. Rio 2016 was her second Olympics, where she played Mixed Doubles with Robin Middleton.

They pitted against Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh but lost 17-21, 15-21.

Being able to compete on a global stage with so much support back home made the journey worthwhile,” she said.

“I had a great Olympic experience and tournament - lots to learn from and work on when I get back into training. I'm so happy and honoured that I could represent Monash and I really appreciate the support Monash have given me over the last 12 months.”

To the 24-year-old, the Games were not only about winning, but national solidarity.     
“The highlight of my Olympics was marching out into the opening ceremony and seeing the Australia flag and being surrounded by other incredible Aussie athletes. It was a moment to be very proud of,” she said.

In the London 2012 Games, Choo and her women’s doubles partner Renuga Veeran achieved the best result in Australian Olympic Badminton history. They placed 5th out of 16 and were defeated just before the quarter-finals.

Choo is currently in her second year at Monash pursuing a Bachelor of Interior Architecture.

Sawan Serasinghe, 22, and Matthew Chau, 21, competed in the Men’s Doubles at Rio 2016 where they lost to top seeded Korean pair Yong Dae Lee and Yeon Seong Yoo, 14-21, 16-21.

The duo has been playing as a national team since the Under 19’s and this is their first Olympics.

Serasinghe described it as a “once in a life time experience”, and said his favourite memory was their first match against the world number one team from Korea.

“It sunk as we were walking out on to the court in front of thousands of people that the hard work we put in over the last four years have finally paid off and we were there wearing the green and gold, competing for Australia,” he said.

Serasinghe is in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Business Information Systems and Chau is studying a double degree in Bachelor of Commerce and Engineering.

The pair are looking to compete in the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Australia has bagged a total of 82 medals this Olympics and student-athletes won 61 per cent of these medals!

Our athletes are now on their welcome tour in various cities around Australia and were received by warmest fans in Bourke Street, Melbourne just yesterday.

Here’s to seeing our athletes giving their all again in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games! 

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