Home2018Momota adds new chapter to his badminton career

Momota adds new chapter to his badminton career

* Credit image: The Japan Times

Earlier this month Kento Momota wrote badminton history as the first Japanese player to win the men's singles in the Japan Open.

He is also the first Japanese player to win the world title and this was in Nanjing, China last month.

Now, Momota, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Sept 1, received a belated best of all birthday present as the World No 1 in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking list issued on Thursday.

It is another chapter to his badminton history as Momota rose to the top – a target he had set when Badminton Asia spoke to him after he won the Badminton Asia men's singles title in Wuhan, China in April.

On Friday, the second-seeded Momota conceded a walkover to his compatriot Kenta Nishimoto (seeded No 6) in the men's singles quarter-finals in the on-going USD600,000 Victor Korea due to injury but it does not matter.

He his enjoying as the new status as the World No 1 and has made it clear that he "wants to remain there" for a long, long time just like China's Lin Dan and Malaysia's Datuk Lee Chong Wei did.

It has been a "fantastic comeback" for Momota from his suspension in 2016 by the Nippon Badminton Association.

He was pulled out from the 2016 Malaysian Open midway through the competition in Bukit Jalil and together with Kenichi Tago, was asked to return to Japan after news broke out of his visits to illegal casinos in Japan – which is a crime in the country.

The ban saw Momota, who was ranked No 2 in the world then, miss the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He was a medal prospect in Rio but the Japanese badminton body did not tolerate indiscipline and it did not matter if the country missed an Olympic medal in the men's singles.

Momota described his newfound status as "humbling experience" and thanked all those who have stood by him.

Today, Momota is the "hottest badminton property" and the shuttle world will hear more of the Japanese, who has vowed never to indulge in indisciplined activities which nearly derailed his badminton career.

"Past is past. Badminton is my career and I will keep my country's flag flying," said Momota.


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