Two Years After Automotive Crash, Badminton Ace Kento Momota In Free Fall | Badminton Information

Japan’s Kento Momota was as soon as badminton’s undisputed king however his profession has gone into free fall ever since a automotive crash greater than two years in the past which left him badly damage. There at the moment are extreme doubts that the 27-year-old former two-times world champion — who was embroiled in a playing scandal earlier in his profession — will ever attain the highest once more. Momota’s world was turned the other way up in January 2020 when the automobile taking him to Kuala Lumpur airport crashed hours after he gained the Malaysia Masters, killing the motive force and leaving the participant with a fractured eye socket.

He was out of motion for a yr and is now a shadow of his former self — the left-handed ace flopped on the Tokyo Olympics and has misplaced within the first spherical of 4 of the 5 singles tournaments he has entered this yr.

“His defence continues to be a bit doubtful, his internet recreation is not as sturdy because it was once after which in fact his self-confidence will need to have taken an enormous, massive hit,” former Danish nationwide workforce coach Steen Schleicher Pedersen advised AFP.

“Possibly even his life values, after being in a crash like that the place the motive force died. Possibly he does not have that starvation any extra, possibly he does not care, possibly it is modified him,” added Pedersen, now a badminton commentator.

Pedersen stated it seemed like Momota’s imaginative and prescient was affecting his play final yr, particularly his defence.

Momota gained a record-breaking 11 titles in 2019, dropping simply six of the 73 matches he performed and looking out each inch a legend within the making.

Then got here the crash which left him with double imaginative and prescient and required surgical procedure on a bone close to his eye.

Residence hope Momota flamed out within the first spherical of final yr’s pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics, however he seemed again to one thing like his finest when he gained the Indonesia Masters in November with out dropping a recreation.

A again downside then compelled him out of the next month’s World Tour Finals and world championships and he has struggled to generate any momentum for the reason that new yr.

‘No extra’

The enigmatic Momota has publicly stated little about his health and Pedersen says the lack of knowledge means these on the skin should depend on “guesswork”.

“Has he been in a position to practise totally this yr? If he is been restricted in his apply, that could possibly be part of the reason,” he stated.

“If he is practised one hundred pc from January 1 to now and he is been hitting the gymnasium and doing all of the badminton apply that he wants and that is the end result, then there is no extra, most probably.”

Momota continues to be ranked quantity two on the planet however the factors system has been skewed by the coronavirus pandemic and he’s anticipated to plummet as soon as a more true image emerges later this yr.

He didn’t sound assured when he spoke to Japanese reporters in April, saying he simply wished “to do all I can at this second”.

“It makes me unhappy once I see feedback like ‘he isn’t enjoying nicely’ or ‘the Momota of outdated does not exist anymore’, however I am making an attempt to not pay an excessive amount of consideration to that,” he stated.

Momota suffered one other first-round defeat on Wednesday, this time to Danish world quantity 13 Rasmus Gemke on the Indonesia Open.

He seemed nicely off the tempo once more and stated afterwards that he “did not have the stamina”, blaming himself for making “so many errors”.

Momota has bounced again earlier than and can want to take action once more if he’s to be a power on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Momota was banned from Japan’s 2016 Rio Olympics workforce for playing at an unlawful on line casino.

The ban compelled him to play in smaller tournaments around the globe as he tried to climb again up the rankings, and despatched him on a successful run that took him all the way in which to the highest.


Pedersen says enjoying recurrently “provides you confidence, it provides you contact, it provides you accuracy”, and he believes Momota “undoubtedly wants to start out successful”.

“He must do good apply after which he wants to start out successful matches — quite a lot of matches,” he stated.

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