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  5. Former world number one Kento Momota announces shock retirement from international badminton

Former world number one Kento Momota announces shock retirement from international badminton

Momota defeated Shi Yu Qi of China to claim the gold at the BWF World Championships in 2018 and then came back in 2019 to get the better of Denmark's Anders Antonsen in straight sets to defend his title and win another gold.

Written By: Kumar Rupesh @afiestysoul New Delhi Updated on: April 18, 2024 13:15 IST
Kento Momota.
Image Source : AP Kento Momota.

Two-time gold medallist at the World Badminton Championships, Kento Momota has stunned the fans of the sport around the world with his sudden retirement from the international circuit.

The 29-year-old announced that the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in Chengdu, People's Republic of China, will be his last international appearance for Japan.

Momota, the men's singles champion at the BWF World Championships in 2018 and winner at the 2019 BWF World Championships in Basel met with a horrific accident after winning the Malaysia Masters when the car taking him to the airport in Kuala Lumpur crashed. 

The driver died after suffering fatal injuries and the Japanese shuttler required surgery to repair the damage to his fractured eye socket.

"I’m not going to lie, after the accident I’ve asked myself, ‘Why me?" Momota told the reporters in a press conference on Thursday in Tokyo.

"Honestly, it was one difficult time after another. But I didn’t want to blame it on the accident. I wanted to try and beat it.

"I had so much support. It’s how I managed to come this far."

Currently, ranked 52nd in the men's singles category, Momota is no longer in contention to qualify for the Paris Olympics and shared that he doesn't feel that he can reach the level he was at before the career-altering mishap occurred.

"Since the accident in January 2020, there was a lot of hardship. I tried so many things but I just couldn’t close the emotional, physical gap between who I used to be and who I am. I felt I couldn’t become world No. 1 again.

"I had eye surgery and I was seeing double. I couldn’t move on the court the way I wanted to, I’d get tired like I never used to. I tried. But I just felt it was no longer possible to keep up with the world’s best players.

"I couldn’t play badminton the way I wanted to," he added.

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