Kuala Lumpur: Kento Momota, the defending champion of Denmark Open, has pulled out of the Denmark Open due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, while fourteen other Japanese badminton players, including Akane Yamaguchi, also withdrew from the tournament, said the Nippon Badminton Association on Friday.
Countries across Europe have been seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks after successfully slowing outbreaks early in the year. Denmark said on Tuesday that coronavirus is still on the rise in Denmark albeit at a slower pace after the country imposed new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
Denmark Open will be the first BWF World Tour tournament since All England that was held in Birmingham in March. Badminton fans around the world now have to wait a little longer for Momota’s return after the World No. 1 suffered multiple bruises and a broken right eye socket in a fatal car accident in Malaysia on Jan 13, hours after he won the Malaysia Masters title.
With his withdrawal from Denmark Open, and with no other international tournaments after the Denmark Open, Momota is now expected to participate in Japan’s national badminton championships in December of 2020 as his comeback tournament.
Nevertheless, 8 Japanese players will still be competing in Denmark, including World No. 4 women’s singles player Nozomi Okuhara, World No. 16 men’s singles player Kenta Nishimoto, World No. 2, 3, and 12 women’s doubles pairs – Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota, Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara, and Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida.