Men’s World No. 1 badminton player Kento Momota tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday just before the Japanese delegation was to leave for Bangkok for the Thailand Open.
World No. 1 badminton player Kento Momota. (Reuters Photo)
- Momota underwent the Covid-19 test at Tokyo’s Narita airport just before leaving for Thailand
- No other member of the delegation tested positive apart from Momota
- But the Japan Badminton Association decided to cancel the trip
The top-ranked men’s badminton player Kento Momota tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, prompting the withdrawal of all Japan’s players from this month’s Thailand Open, Japan’s Badminton Association said.
According to media reports, Momota underwent the test at Tokyo’s Narita airport as he and Japan’s national team were preparing to depart for Thailand for two weeks of tournaments from January 12.
Although no other member from the delegation tested positive, the federation decided to cancel the trip. The delegation was also scheduled to participate in World Tour Finals in Bangkok later this month.
Momota had been injured severely in a car crash in Kuala Lumpur in January this year. Momota, who won the Malaysia Masters, suffered multiple lacerations to his face and a nasal bone fracture. The driver in the incident had died in the crash.
He had played last month in the All-Japan championships and won the tournament, in the first step of his comeback since the injury that at one point threatened his career.
The tournaments in Bangkok were another step in his comeback as the champion player would have hoped to get back into the form that he was in prior to his crash. Momota had won a record-breaking 11 titles in 2019.
Three postponed tournaments on the tour will be played back-to-back in Thailand in January, with the finals to be held at the end of that month.
The coronavirus pandemic decimated badminton’s international calendar, with October’s Denmark Open which Momota did not enter because of fears over the virus the only tournament since March.
Momota has kept training, however, and even found time to offer his services as a coach on social media, triggering thousands of responses.