Former World Champion Kento Momota Retires Following Traffic Accident Aftermath

Former world champion Kento Momota retires. He never reached the top level after the traffic accident

Kento Momota leaves the press conference after announcing his retirement. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/Ritzau Scanpix

The Japanese badminton star Kento Momota has finished at the top level.

He has no intention of playing again after missing the qualification for this summer’s Olympics in Paris.

The former world champion has never quite recovered to his top level after he was involved in a traffic accident in Malaysia in January 2020.

The driver of the car died, while Momota escaped with a fracture around his eye socket as well as scratches and marks over most of his body. At the time, the forecast was for a two-month badminton break, but the break was much longer, and the aftermath of the accident has never fully escaped Momota.

– I have realized that I can no longer reach the position I am aiming for – to be number one in the world again.

– I have had a good career, says Momota at a press conference according to Reuters.

The 29-year-old Japanese is currently ranked number 52 in the world, which makes him just the seventh best Japanese in the world rankings.

He can look back on an impressive career where he became world champion in both 2018 and 2019 – in the latter case he humiliated Anders Antonsen in the final.

On the other hand, Momota dropped out early at the home Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, and he missed the Games in Rio due to a gambling conviction.

The quick-footed Japanese had a good advantage over the Danes during his career. For example, Momota has won 14 out of 17 matches against Viktor Axelsen, six out of seven against Anders Antonsen and nine out of ten against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.

Viktor Axelsen pays tribute to his rival of the same age after the announcement of the career break.

– It is a pity that Momota is already ending his career now. He is one of the most talented players in recent times, and he deserves to play at the highest level for many years to come.

– However, it is understandable that it has been difficult for him to find his very highest level after the terrible accident – also considering what he has been through, writes Viktor Axelsen to Ekstra Bladet.

2024-04-18 07:07:53
#Star #ends #career #Ekstra #Bladet


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