Saitama: Japan’s former World No. 2 Kento Momota allowed his emotion to take over on Wednesday, as he came back from a one year suspension to win the men’s singles title at Japan Ranking Circuit.
The Japan Ranking Circuit was Momota’s first official match when Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) lifted his indefinite ban on May 15th, slightly more than a year after the 23-year-old admitted he did gamble in illegal casinos last April.
Facing his ex-teammate at the Japan national team – Takuma Ueda in the final, Momota took the first game easily with 21-13. However, Momota got off to poor start and ended up losing 14-21 in the second set.
Momota was quick to step up the pressure and started to play some attacking badminton against Ueda in the decider. There were 4 lead exchanges since 16-18, and when Ueda smash his shuttlecock out of bound allowing Momota to score the match point with 21-19, Momota dropped to his knees and burst into tears.
“I would like to thanks everybody that support me during the difficult times,” said Momota with tears.
As for Ueda, he seemed to be calm after the defeat.
“We know each other very well, I already expected this to be a difficult match,” said Ueda.
Japan’s national head coach Park Joo-Bong was also there to watch the final.
“Momota’s physical condition was ok. He may be a little rusty on his net shots,” said Park.
“As of right now, we can’t give you any date about when Momota will return to the national team. But I do hope Momota can get back to become one of the top player in the world like he did before,” added Park.