After surviving fatal car crash, Kento Momota recovers and eyes Tokyo Olympic gold

Kento Momota talks to reporters in his first press conference since a car accident on Jan. 13 and Feb. 8 facial surgery to correct double vision.
Kento Momota talks to reporters in his first press conference since a car accident on Jan. 13 and Feb. 8 facial surgery to correct double vision.

Tokyo: Early this year, World No. 1 men’s singles player Kento Momota who was injured in a serious car accident that killed the driver when the van carrying Momota and others crashed into the back of a 30-ton truck carrying sand on a highway on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur at around 5 a.m. on Jan 13, 2020.

For two days, he remained in hospital in Malaysia and was diagnosed with fractured nose as well as cuts to his lips and face and bruises on his body. He was in a stable condition and was released from a hospital in Malaysia and boarded a plane back to Japan two days after the accident.

The World No. 1 player then suffered another setback in his preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as he complained of discomfort and double vision in the first day of returning to training since the car accident. He was then diagnosed with an orbital floor fracture, also known as an eye socket fracture, next to his right eye and had to undergo another surgery on February 8 to repair the eye socket fracture which was causing double vision.

On Friday, the two-time World Champion Kento Momota held a press conference to thank fans for their support after being injured in the car accident and after his eye surgery.

He said he would return to practice little by little, and wanted to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

“The eye surgery had delayed my comeback plan where I was originally scheduled to play at next week’s All England Championships,” said Momota.

“After the car accident, there were times I was so down and my spirit was almost broken.”

“I kept asking myself how long will it take for me to return to the badminton court.”

“Encouragement from fans gave me a lot of motivations when I felt like I was giving up.”

“I am now feeling better both physically and mentally.”

Momota recalled about the car accident during the press conference: “It was 4:30 in the morning when I left the hotel. I was very sleepy and slept in the car. I had no idea what happened during the collision. I just knew that I was injured and my body was unable to move.”

He said that if he was awake at the moment of a car accident, the injury might be more serious.

Momota also comment on the orbital floor fracture: “When I looked at something the next day after the car accident, I sometimes saw things with double vision, but I could see thing clearly after a while. However, when I started my training, I consistently saw things with double vision, that’s why I went back to hospital to recheck.”

He was very cautious about the possibility of playing for Japan in the Thomas Cup Finals that will be held in Aarthus in Denmark, from May 16, 2020 to May 24, 2020.

“Of course, I would like to return to the competition as soon as possible. However, I can’t force it because I would like to make sure I am completely ready before I started playing at international tournaments. I also need to follow the advice from the doctors and coaches about the progress of my recovery.”

At the beginning of the press conference, he expressed his condolences to the van driver who died in the car accident.

“First of all, I would like to pray for the driver who passed away in the car accident.”


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