Lankan-born Aussie in the news for the wrong reasons | Daily News


Lankan-born Aussie in the news for the wrong reasons

Fast foods at Olympic  Village in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, Thursday: A Sri Lanka-born badminton player, representing Australia in the current 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, hit news headlines in a “different sport”. Sawan Serasinghe, born on February 21, 1994 in Galle and now residing in Melbourne, Australia is representing his adopted country at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Serasinghe is partnered by Matthew Chau in representing Australia in the men’s doubles tournament here. They were drawn in group ‘A’ but the Australian duo lost all their three qualifying round group matches. They first lost to South Korea’s Yong Dae Lee and Yeon Seong Yoo 14-21, 16-21.

The second group match for the Serasinghe-Chau combination was against Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozoniv. But the Russian duo had an easy straight set win 21-16, 21-16. Serasinghe and Chau fared no better in their last group match too and suffered their third successive defeat at the hands of Sheng Mu Lee and Chia Hsin Tsai of Taipei 14-21, 19-21.

It was only in the last set of their last group match that Serasinghe and Chau could offer some resistance before going down fighting.

However, Serasinghe hit news headlines for a different reason – enjoying a mammoth meal from the fast food giant McDonalds outlet in the Olympic Village which offers free meals to competitors and officials residing there.

Since the sportsmen and women in the Olympic Village have been ordering ridiculous amounts of food from the outlet, the free restaurant finally decided to limit an order to 20 items per person at a time.

Reports said that the limitation on food item orders has been imposed with a view of reducing the time the competitors have to spend in its waiting line.

Some competitors have been forced to wait for hours to place their order due to a huge demand and gigantic orders placed by most Olympians.

The Washington Post and Britain’s Daily Mail carried banner headlines on the restrictions imposed by the food outlet to cut down the time athletes’ have to wait before they collect their food. In one such report, a big photograph showing Serasinghe before a huge food order was published with a caption “Australian badminton player Sawan Serasinghe takes advantage of the restaurants’ generosity with a mammoth order”.

The Indian Express headline said that Australian Olympian Serasinghe “celebrated” his exit from the Rio Games with a mighty McDonald’s feast.

It claimed that Serasinghe had ordered some six packs of large fries, six brownies, two hamburgers, three McChickens, a Big Mac, 40 McNuggets and some water to be precise.

Serasinghe’s photograph was not the only one that was published along with the news reports which highlighted images of long queues of Olympians waiting for their turn in front of the restaurant which served fast food round the clock with a highly efficient staff who work like robots.

In contrast, there were hardly any rush at the main restaurant of the Olympic Village which too offers free food for competitors and officials.

Although the main restaurant offers a balanced and health-conscious diet for sportsmen with a variety of other favourite food served in each continent, most Olympians opt for the fast food restaurant located in the international zone of the Olympic Village.

Serasinghe’s photograph which the newspapers have published originally appeared in the shuttler’s Instegram account.

Reports said that “free fast food has been like a red rag to a bull to some athletes”, adding that Serasinghe is a prime example - posting a picture of his king-sized order.

Some sportsmen see the free food as a release from months of hard work and Serasinghe has captioned his Integram picture “Now it’s time to eat some junk food after months of eating clean”. Serasinghe is not the only Australian who patronizes the outlet and his team mate and basketball superstar Andrew Bogut has eaten there. Among the other high-profile sportsmen and women who have made use of the fast food outlet is former world number one, Jelena Jankovic.

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