Today we will be kicking off a series of stories about our Team KEEGO Athletes. We will be giving you insider info on their beginnings, obstacles, successes and failures, diet and hydration and the people behoind the scenes without whom our athletes would not be who they are.
First up on Team KEEGO - Luka Wraber. He started playing badminton at aged 8, and joined the Austrian national badminton team in 2008. He competed at the 2015 and 2019 European Games, and also at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 30 years old and have been playing badminton since I was eight. I grew up bilingually in Wiener Neustadt (my father is from Ljubljana) and attended a standard high school.
Luka with his dad, getting his first badminton racquet
After graduating from high school, I started playing badminton professionally and still do!
Why are you so passionate about badminton?
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by sports. But mostly ball sports. I love to play and always face new challenges. Every match is one of those challenges and I still enjoy the moments of exciting games. In my opinion, trying to achieve my best performance over and over again is only possible if you really play with passion.
When I play, not to win, but to actually play the game with all its facets.. only then I play my best.
How does a training session of yours look like?
Besides many hours in the badminton hall, sometimes five a day, I have had my own mental coach for over 10 years and my own fitness trainer for about a year. In addition, I have been investing a lot of time in physiotherapy in recent years so that I can have as long a career as possible.
I think it's very important to have people around you who on the one hand always challenge you, but on the other hand see things in a similar way.
Are there rules for the amount of water you want to drink each day? Are there foods you like to eat but never on match days?
I weighed myself one summer 5-6 years ago before and after each training session to see if I was drinking enough. Since then, I know that I have to drink between 1.5 and 2.5 litres in a badminton practice session, depending on how hot it is. I have a weakness for chocolate and before a match I avoid anything that is heavy on the stomach.
What do you think is a crucial difference/advantage you have compared to other athletes?
I think my work ethic, my head and my enjoyment of the game are an advantage compared to others.
What keeps you going?
My biggest goal in terms of results was to participate in the Olympic Games, but in general I always set myself short, medium and long-term goals.
Having recently returned from Tokyo, I am using my holiday to set my next goals. In the future, I will probably focus on the European Championships and the European Games!
Please tell us something about the most difficult moment in your career and how you overcame it.
The most bitter moment in my career was the one-year Olympic qualification for the Games in Rio 2016. I played a sensational qualification year, but in the end I was just not the best Austrian on the world ranking list and therefore did not qualify.
But I realised that my goal was always the way and that it is only half as bad not to reach the final goal if you have given everything and enjoyed the way. That's how it was, so I was able to look ahead again quickly.
Why do you use KEEGO?
The KEEGO bottle is exactly the solution to the problem that I have not been able to solve since I started playing badminton - a bottle that is not made of plastic, is not too heavy and does not quickly become smelly!
Is there a person in your life who has had a decisive influence on your career as an athlete or your life in general?
There is a lot to mention here: my parents, my brother, my fiancée Ana Marija (soon to be wife), my coaches over the years (John Dinesen, Oliver Pongratz, Krasimir Yankov, Kent Madsen - all badminton; Johann Weitlaner - mental coach; Luke Couture - strength/fitness coach; the physiotherapists of the LSA and Dominik Jessenk, my sports doctor Lukas Brandner, my sponsors/supporters and many more...
Luka and his team.
KEEP GOING Luka!