Kento Momota turns 26: Key moments of the world number one’s journey

As the left-handed Japanese Kento Momota turns 26 today let’s have a look at some major moments of his career.

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Kento Momota
Credits: Twitter | Kento Momota

Born on 1 September 1994, in Mitoyo, Kagawa prefecture, Japan, Kento Momota picked up the racquet while he was in second grade. He’s been excelling at badminton since his school days. As the left-handed Japanese Kento Momota turns 26 today let’s have a look at some major moments of his career.

Junior Years of Kento Momota

He started playing the junior tournaments in 2011. He did not taste much podium finishes but continued to learn. In 2012, he won the world Junior Championships, Gimcheon in both boys singles and the mixed team category.

The year of firsts

2015 was a special year for the left-hander. He became the first Japanese to win the Singapore Open. Kento also became the first Japanese to win a medal the World Championship in men’s singles category.  The Japanese won bronze after losing to Chen Long in the semi finals. Momota also won the year end 2015 BWF World Superseries Final in Dubai.

The Gambling scandal and ban

Kento Momota’s world came crashing when he was banned from playing badminton months before Rio Olympics 2016 by the Japanese badminton Governing body. Momota admittedly visited illegal casinos and engaged in gambling along with team mate Kenichi Tago. He was ranked world number two at that time.

Also Read: A look at Kento Momota’s amazing run in 2019

The sizzling return to competition

Kento Momota
Credits: Twitter | Kento Momota

He returned to the circuit in July 2017 and was ranked no 282. It was the darkest period of his career as he reminisces. The ban nevertheless did not deter him from his commitment to the sport. It was very evident as he took the circuit by storm in his comeback. He climbed up the rankings steadily.  2019 was him in stellar form as he won 11 titles, surpassing the records of Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei.

Kento Momota is the fourth male player to have won back-to-back World Championship titles (2018, 2019) only after Yang Yang, Lin Dan and Chen Long. In 2019, he also became the first Japanese man to win the prestigious All England Open.

The accident and recovery

Hours after winning the Malaysia Masters 2020, Kento Momota met with a fatal car crash on his way to the airport. His drover was killed in the accident. Momota had sustained facial injuries  including skin lacerations and bone fractures. He had admitted that there were times when he felt that his spirit was almost broken. He had even contemplated quitting badminton. But his recovery and return to court is just miraculous. But due to the lockdown to contain the sprread of the Coronavirus pandemic, Momota took the opportunity to undergo a plastic surgery and recover. He is now back in the Japanese Camp and resumed training. The coaches have been very positive about his physical fitness.

Kento Momota at a press conference
Credits: Twitter| Kento Momota at a press conference after the crash

Needless to say Kento Momota is the most dominant player currently in the Men’s singles category and is a strong contender for the Tokyo 2021 Gold medal. More so, He holds the home ground Advantage for the upcoming Olympic Games. Momota is an all round player, with an exceptional retrieving ability, combined with timely precise attacks that makes him one of the best. Also, he has the advantage of being left-handed. The Japanese great has already broken records with his spectacular performances and made his mark to be among the best in the world.

Here’s wishing Kento Momota who turns 26, a very happy birthday!

Also Read: Kento Momota wins BWF world tour final

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