Tokyo: The Japan men’s badminton national team might have one of its star players back by the beginning of 2018.
Kento Momota, the former men’s singles World No. 2 men’s singles player is expected to be officially reinstated to the team early next year.
Momota who was suspended in April 2016 for visiting an illegal casino which ruled him out of the Rio Olympics, has made his return to the international competition in July of 2017 at the Canada Open after his suspension was lifted in May this year. Since then, he had won the 2017 Yonex/K&D Graphics International Series, Belgian International, Czech Open, Dutch Open, and Macau Open and his world ranking has sky-rocketed from World No. 280 to World No. 48.
“He is returning to the level he had before the suspension,” said the Japanese head coach Park Joo Bong.
“Our big goal is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and joining the national team will allow him to recover to his previous level quicker and to be able to compete at the higher level of competition,” added Park.
The 23-year-old Momota was the first Japanese men’s player to ever win a world championship medal when he claimed bronze at Jakarta in 2015. Momota also clinched the Dubai Super Series finals in 2015 together with Nozomi Okuhara in women’s singles.