Former World No. 1 Kento Momota retires from international badminton

Two-time world champion Kento Momota said Thursday he is retiring from international badminton aged 29

The former World No. 1 decided to end a top-level career that never recovered from a car crash four years ago

Momota was once badminton’s undisputed king, winning 11 titles in 2019 and losing just six of the 73 matches he played that year

His life turned upside down in January 2020 when the vehicle taking him to Kuala Lumpur airport crashed hours after he won the Malaysia Masters

After surgery, he suffered double vision and struggled to regain his previous form when he returned to competition after a year

He lost in the opening round at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 and fell at the first hurdle in four of the first five tournaments the following year

He was also hampered by injuries and saw his world ranking plummet as former rival Viktor Axelsen established himself as badminton’s top player

Momota, who was embroiled in a gambling scandal earlier in his career, was banned from the selection for the 2016 Rio Olympics for gambling at an illegal casino

He had targeted this summer’s Paris Olympics but his national ranking was not good enough to earn him a spot in Japan’s team

Momota, who had already missed out on a place at the Paris Olympics, will play for Japan for the last time at the Thomas Cup in China later this month