Kento Momota tests positive for coronavirus

Japan has withdrawn all its players from this month's Thailand Open after the world No.1 shuttler tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

File photo of Kento Momota in action during the All England Open Badminton tournament in 2019.   -  Reuters Photo

World number one badminton player Kento Momota has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the withdrawal of all Japan’s players from this month’s tournaments in Thailand, the Badminton World Federation said on Sunday.

Momota, 26, was looking to make his international comeback in Bangkok after almost a year out following a car crash that left him with serious injuries.

The two-time reigning world champion tested positive after undergoing a mandatory COVID-19 test at Narita Airport ahead of the Japan team’s departure for Thailand.

Read: Lakshya Sen pulls out of two Thailand events due to injury

“Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) has subsequently withdrawn all its singles and doubles players from the YONEX Thailand Open (12-17 January 2021) and TOYOTA Thailand Open (19-24 January 2021),” the BWF said in a statement.

The absence of the Japanese contingent further affects the quality of the field at the two Thailand Opens, with Chinese players already skipping the tournaments due to COVID-19 concerns.

“On behalf of the organizers, I deeply appreciate the decision of the Japanese team to have to withdraw from the competition over health concerns for other participants," Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul said.

“I wish all members of the Japanese team strong health and safety and hope to see them back on courts the soon.”

The events are the last two qualifying opportunities for the World Tour Finals to be held from January 27-31.

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