Tokyo: Can the World No. 1 men’s singles player Kento Momota win the gold at Tokyo Olympic next year following surgery for a fractured right eye socket sustained in a car accident in Malaysia on January 13, 2020?
The van driver was killed at the scene of the crash, while Kento Momota suffered cuts to his face and bruising all over his body.
He was originally hoping for a quick comeback to compete at the All England Open in Birmingham in March, but on the first day of returning to training, he was complaining of double vision in seeing the shuttlecock. He was then diagnosed with right eye socket fracture and had to undergo surgery to repair the injury.
According to Japanese media – Asahi Shimbun, Momota appeared to be making excellent progress in his recovery and continued to increase his rehab workload.
The 25-year-old had an incredible 2019 season, where the won a record of 11th titles in a single season, surpassing Lee Chong Wei who won 10 titles in 2010. Momota was pretty much unbeatable when he defeated Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 to win his 11th title of 2019, which was also the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou last December.
Asahi Shimbun wrote that an internal source revealed after a 3-month rest following his surgery, although Momota was not able to smash hard, he was able to find the speed and strength he had before the accident.
The article also pointed out the fact that the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has decided to cancel all events until August 2020, and with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, actually gave Momota less pressure and sufficient time to rest.
Momota produced an astonishing 74 wins and 8 losses in 2018 and 67 wins and 6 losses in 2019, and his winning percentage was more than 90%. However, during this period, he lost to China’s World No. 9 Shi Yuqi twice and Indonesia’s World No. 6 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting three times. Both Shi and Ginting could potentially be his toughest opponents at the next year’s Tokyo Olympics.