Park Joo Bong: Players Could Be A Bit Rusty After Long COVID-19 Break

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Park Joo Bong and the Japanese team are looking forward to a strong start to 2021. (photo: Peng Huan/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
Park Joo Bong and the Japanese team are looking forward to a strong start to 2021. (photo: Peng Huan/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Tokyo: The head coach of Japan’s national badminton team, Park Joo Bong said that World No. 1 men’s singles player Kento Momota had completely recovered from the car accident where he sustained bruises in different parts of his body and had to undergo surgery to repair his fractured right eye socket as a result of the fatal car crash which killed the van driver.

“I believe he is back to his pre-injury level of performance, coaches from the national team has visited and watched him trained in his club several times, and Momota’s condition was great,” Park said in an interview with the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

“Momota was ready to play at the Denmark Open which took place last week, but days before the tournament began, there was an increase in Covid-19 cases in Denmark and club owners asked players to stay in Japan,” added Park.

“The hotels, flight tickets, and other things have all been confirmed, but the situation changed at the last moment.”

However, Park did agree that the long COVID-19 layoff gave players enough time to recover, and the Japanese players are now back to training at the Japan national team.

“The players were originally training with their clubs. But we were preparing for Thomas and Uber Cup and the national team players had restarted the training since September.”

Nevertheless, Park was worried that players were having problems shaking off the rust from a long Covid-19 layoff.

“I am concern that they couldn’t spring right back into action as they need time to find the tournament feeling and competition feeling. Not only Japan, but I am also sure every team shares the same concerns.”

Park also stressed that there would be several high profile tournaments in 2021, such as Olympics, World Championships, Thomas Cup, and Uber Cup, he and the Japan national have started scheduling and preparing for next year.

Although all industries around the world took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, the long time off he got as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was a blessing in disguise for him.

“I got more family bonding time in which I never had before. Especially after the All England in March, I got a complete two-month off because everything was closed. I spent a lot of time with my family.”

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