Kento Momota wins first badminton worlds with victory over Shi Yuqi

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Kento Momota captures the 2018 world badminton title. (photo: AFP)
Kento Momota captures the 2018 world badminton title. (photo: AFP)

Nanjing: Kento Momota became the first Japanese man to win badminton singles World Championships title when the sizzling Momota needed only 49 minutes to beat Shi Yuqi of China 21-11, 21-13 to claim the world title on Sunday.

In 2015, Momota also became the first Japanese to ever win a medal in the badminton worlds when he won a bronze. However, he was suspended by Nippon Badminton Association in 2016 for gambling at an illegal casino in Japan. After his suspension was lifted on May 15, 2017, Momota has won nine of 13 tournaments he participated. He also beat Shi in the second round of the Badminton Asian Championships in April of 2018.

“Physically, my body and legs moved very well on the court,” said Momota.

“Shi Yuqi is an aggressive player, but I was able to return some of his best shots and put a lot of pressure on him.”

“I could not have won this championship by myself, I would like to thank my team and coaches for their help,” added Momota.

Despite the loss, Shi, who defeated badminton legend Lin Dan and Rio Olympic champion Chen Long en-route to the final, has confirmed his newfound status as China’s best men’s singles player.

In men’s doubles, China’s twin towers – Li Junhui (195cm) and Liu Yuchen (193cm) won a 50 minutes’ fierce battle against Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan 21-12, 21-19 to keep the men’s doubles title on home turf.

Li Junhui (right) /Liu Yuchen celebrate after winning the world tile. (photo: AFP)
Li Junhui (right) /Liu Yuchen celebrate after winning the world tile. (photo: AFP)

Li/Liu were the fourth Chinese men’s doubles pair to win the world championship after Li Yongbo/Tian Bingyi, Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng, and Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng.

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