17 January 2020
Kento Momota, who survived a tragic road accident in Malaysia early this week, may return to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia Open on March 31-April 5.
As the world champion flew back to Tokyo yesterday after a two-night stay at Putrajaya Hospital, BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, who was at KLIA to send Momota off, invited him to play in Malaysia again,
“I told Momota that I would like to see him back here for the Malaysia Open.
“He hasn’t spoken much but he smiled when I said that. We would all like to see him back here but for now let’s wish him a speedy recovery,” Norza said yesterday.
Momota, 26, was injured on Monday morning when the van that he was travelling in, crashed into the back of a trailer. Van driver N.Bavan died on the spot.
The Japanese star suffered a fractured nose and lacerations to his face. Three others in the van, assistant coach Akifumi Morimoto, physiotherapist Yu Hirayama and BWF officer William Thomas suffered light injuries.
Momota’s accident has drawn much interest from the international media as it was a story of joy and sorrow involving the World No 1 player in two days.
For just a day before the crash, Momota had beaten Denmark’s former world champion Viktor Axelsen 24-22, 21-11 in the Malaysia Masters final at Axiata Stadium, Bukit Jalil.
Yesterday, reporters gathered at KLIA as Momota was taken to a special lounge before boarding a flight to Tokyo.
Norza, who led the sending-off party, said Momota will undergo further treatment in Japan under the watchful eyes of the Japan BA.
Norza also thanked the staff of Hospital Putrajaya for treating Momota, Morimoto, Hirayama and Thomas over the last two days.
On the investigation into the road accident, Norza said: “The police came to speak to Momota and the rest yesterday (Tuesday). We will leave it to them.
“What I can say is that the accident took place early in the morning and the four of them were asleep.”
Prior to the accident, many pundits had tipped Momota as the heavy favourite to win the men’s singles gold at this year’s Tokyo Olympics. However, as a shaken and bruised Momota went back to Japan to recover, it remains to be seen whether he can return to his best.