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Former world No. 1 Kento Momota retires from international badminton stage at 29

Former world No. 1 badminton player Kento Momota announced his retirement from international competition at 29. Following a serious car crash in 2020, Momota struggled to regain his form, leading to his decision to step away from global competition.



kento momota
(Photo: X/Yonex JP)

JAPAN: Former world No. 1 in badminton, Kento Momota, has announced his retirement from international competition at the age of 29 on Thursday (18 April).

Momota, a two-time world champion, made this decision due to ongoing struggles following a serious car accident four years ago that left him with a fractured eye socket.

Despite a remarkable career that saw him win 11 titles in 2019, Momota’s form never fully recovered after the accident, which occurred shortly after his victory at the Malaysia Masters in January 2020.

“Since the accident in January 2020, there was a lot of hardship,” Momota said.

“I tried so many things but I just couldn’t close the emotional, physical gap between who I used to be and who I am. I felt I couldn’t become world No. 1 again.”

Returning to the sport after a year-long absence, Momota faced challenges such as double vision and a noticeable decline in performance.

Despite efforts to regain his previous level of play, he found it increasingly difficult to compete with the world’s best players.

“I couldn’t play badminton the way I wanted to,” he said.

Ranked 52nd globally and unable to secure a spot on Japan’s team for the Paris Olympics, Momota has decided to retire from international competition after the Thomas and Uber Cup in China later this month.

Reflecting on his decision, Momota expressed gratitude for the support he received throughout his career and emphasized his desire to face challenges head-on rather than blaming setbacks on his accident.

Despite the hardships, Momota remained composed during his retirement announcement, acknowledging that he had given his all to the sport and had no regrets about his decision to step away from international competition.

“Ever since I took up badminton, the Olympics has been my dream stage. I was so happy when I made it there. The result was frustrating but even when I’m done internationally, I’ll leave with no regrets.”

Looking ahead, Momota plans to continue playing domestically in Japan and to stay involved in the sport by working with younger players.

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