Former number one Momota retires from international badminton at 29 - GulfToday

Former number one Momota retires from international badminton at 29


Japan’s badminton player Kento Momota announces his retirement in Tokyo on Thursday. AFP

Two-time world champion Kento Momota said Thursday he is retiring from international badminton aged 29, admitting he had never been the same since a serious car crash four years ago.

Japan's Momota was once badminton's undisputed king, winning 11 titles in 2019 and losing just six of the 73 matches he played that year.

But in January 2020 the vehicle taking him to Kuala Lumpur airport crashed hours after he won the Malaysia Masters.

The driver was killed and Momota needed surgery to repair a fractured eye socket.

When he returned after a year out Momota suffered double vision and failed to regain the scintillating form that had taken him to world number one, although he did win two more titles.

"At the time of the accident I'd be lying if I said I didn't think to myself, 'Why me?'," Momota told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.

Now ranked 52 and having missed out on a place at the Paris Olympics, Momota will retire from Japan's national team after playing at the Thomas and Uber Cup in China later this month.

After that he will play only in domestic competitions in Japan and not on badminton's World Tour.

"There were a lot of tough times after that traffic accident," Momota added.

"I tried to get back to the way I used to play through trial and error, but there was a gap between my feelings and my body.

"That continued and I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to a level where I was competing with the world's best."

Agence France-Presse

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