As the sole representative of Sri Lanka at this year’s Australian Junior International 2019, 16-year-old Dumindu Aberwickrama is embracing his independence early on with his eyes set on the ultimate goal, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Having previously represented Sri Lanka in last year’s BWF World Junior Championships, Dumindu continues to compete internationally as he finds his rhythm as a Men’s Singles specialist.
Following a comfortable win on day one, Aberwickrama was one of the many seeded players to exit the draw on day two as the underdogs from Australia and Chinese Taipei prevailed.
However, the loss doesn’t dampen his spirit, as he learns from the experience to better himself as a player.
Aspiring to follow the footsteps of his favourite players, Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Kento Momota and Anthony Ginting, Dumindu believes his positive mindset and resilience carries him through the companionless game – essential traits for an aspiring Singles player.
Such independence has allowed Dumindu to make several friends on the circuit, so he can arrange training sessions when travelling alone, while learning about different tournaments and cultures.
“This tournament was recommended by some of my Australian friends which I have met from playing badminton internationally.”
“My teammates from Sri Lanka also advised me to come here as they played last year and loved it. I will have some time to explore Melbourne after the event”, says Dimundu.
Due to other tournament commitments, Dimindu missed the national trails for this year’s World Junior Championships, but has plans to compete at next year’s equivalent in New Zealand and the 2021 China edition, before breaking into the Open circuit and planning for his badminton career.
“When I am 18 or 19, I want to review my strengths and weaknesses and stick to a training plan as my goals will be to qualify for the Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games”, says Dimindu.
Like many athletes, Dimindu struggles to find funding, sponsorship and high-quality training in his home town of Colombo.
“Due to the lack of support, I do most of my training on my own. I hope my tournament results over the next year will help with my world ranking and ability to find a sponsor and some additional funding”, says Dimindu.
However, before taking on his Olympic pursuits, Dimindu plans to keep competing in similar Junior tournaments, including a return trip to Australia and ambitions to medal at the 2021 BWF World Junior Championships in China.