Momota is the new Badminton Asia Championships men's singles champion
Unseeded Kento Momota of Japan is back on the big scene in badminton when dethroned defending champion Chen Long of China in the men's singles final in the Wuhan Automobile Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China on Sunday.
The 21-17, 21-13 win in an hour - a win that he said will "resurrect his badminton career" which seemed doomed when he lost to compatriot Kenta Tsuneyama (20-22, 21-4, 14-21) in the Canada Open last year in his comeback trail more than a year-long suspension for gross indiscipline. He was suspended by the Nippon Badminton Association for illegal gambling in casinos in Japan.
"This win over Chen Long means a lot to me. It showed that I still have plenty of competitive badminton in me. To beat two big names in badminton...Lee Chong Wei (semifinals) and Chen Long (final) is great and fantastic.
"This win is for all those who have supported me through thick and thin in my badminton career. I also thank them for their support. Here I am looking at better things to come for me in my badminton career," said the 23-year-old Momota, who added the Chen Long is "physically and mentally strong" in his badminton.
"I am the new Asian champion but I am not satisfied. I want more and I will walk the extra mile to achieve my ambitions as I want to be the world No 1."
Momota was once ranked No 2 in the world before the suspension which also cost him dearly as he was forced out of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Chen Long has taken his defeat in his stride - only his second to Momota - in five meetings. His first was in the 2015 World Championships in Jakarta when he lost 9-21, 15-21 in the playoff for the bronze medal match.
"I lost my pace at 14-12 in the first game and simply crumbled after that. Momota is a very patient player and plays his strategies well even when under pressure.
"I made some faults and lost four or five points...if not I would have been the champion again," quipped Chen Long.
Kento Momota (Jpn) beat Chen Long (Chn) 21-17, 21-13