Tokyo: Nozomi Okuhara who came through an epic battle against PV Sindhu of India 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 in the World Championship final in August, has decided to pull out from the Dubai World Superseries Finals, citing knee injury.
The Japanese head coach Park Joo-bong has confirmed on Saturday that the reigning World Champion Okuhara to withdraw from the Badminton World Federation (BWF) season-ending championships to be held Dec. 13-17 in Dubai.
Okuhara injured her right knee at the Japan Open Superseries tournament in September and though she said the condition has been improving, she has not been able to hold on-court training sessions. In addition to the Dubai World Superseries Finals, Okuhara also pulled out of the Japan national championships last Wednesday after winning a point in the first game of her first-round match citing the same injury.
“It’s going to be inconvenience if she pulls out after playing in the Dubai finals,” said Park.
The 22-year-old reigning World Champion won the Dubai finals title in 2015 along with teammate Kento Momota, who took the men’s singles trophy.
When asked about Kento Momota’s chances of returning to the Japanese national team, Park told reporters that he has not yet decided on that.
“I have not finalize on this yet. Badminton is what is important, so, I will evaluate based on his performance on the badminton court,” added Park.
Former World No. 2 men’s singles player was suspended in April 2016 for illegal gambling. He had won 5 international championships since his suspension was lifted in May of 2017. He crashed out in the quarterfinal of Japan championships 3 days ago.