Saitama: Although the Japan team ended with bronze medal in the recently concluded Sudirman Cup, but in the past few days, the former World No. 2 Kento Momota has completely stolen the spotlight from the Japanese Sudirman Cup squad.
Kento Momota who was a bright medal prospect for Japan at the Rio Olympics, was slapped with an indefinite ban by Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) shortly after Momota conceded to gamble at illegal casinos in Japan last April.
The 22-year-old returned to badminton action last Saturday representing his corporate team NTT East, has advanced to the semi-finals at the Japan Ranking Circuit Competition on Monday by beating Hiroshi Koga of Waseda University with 21-19, 21-7 in the quarter-finals.
“I was calm when I was trailing 9-11 in the first set. I then scored the next 3 consecutive points to lead at 12-11,” said Momota.
“I regained my rhythm, found my smashes that helped me won the first set 21-19,” added Momota.
Momota then overwhelmed his opponent in the second set by crushing Koga with 21-7.
When asked about Japan’s performance at the recent Sudirman Cup, Momota said despite the 2-3 defeat to China in the semi-final, the overall performance of Japanese team was very encouraging.
“Now there’s no big gap between the Japanese team and the Chinese team. Players in the Japan national team are growing very fast, and I hope to return to the national team as soon as possible!”