Thursday, May 23, 2024


Two-time world champion Kento Momota announces retirement from international badminton

IANS | April 18, 2024 12:39 PM

NEW DELHI: Two-time world champion Kento Momota of Japan announced his retirement from international badminton on Thursday, marking the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in Chengdu, China as his final tournament on the international circuit.

Momota became the first Japanese man to win the world championship in 2018 in China and the following year he successfully defended his crown in Switzerland.

"I've realized I can no longer get back to the point where I'm aiming to be No. 1 in the world again, " Momota said in a press conference in Tokyo as quoted by Japanese news agency Kyodo News.

"I had a very fulfilling career playing for the national team. Now I want to be involved in helping all kinds of people find enjoyment in sports."

In 2019, Momota won a record 11 titles on the BWF Tour and was named the top men's player. However, in January of the following year, after winning the Malaysia Masters title he met with a tragic highway accident in Kuala Lumpur from which he miraculously survived.

The former world no.1 made his competitive return in December the same year but his form has not been the same since then. He also made a disappointing group-stage exit at the Tokyo Olympics and has had just two tour wins since the crash.

"I’m not going to lie, after the accident I’ve asked myself, Why me? “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.

"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 said.

Momota's journey, marred by a gambling scandal that cost him his chance to vie for a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, had set his sights on competing in the Paris Olympics, but fell short of qualification due to his ranking.

However, the 29-year-old plans to continue to play domestically in the national championships and the professional League.

Have something to say? Post your comment