Momota Kento says he has "fully recovered" from accident

Japanese badminton star says eye injury has been resolved and he can "see without any problem"

By ZK Goh

World number one Momota Kento is "fully recovered" and back to his best, the Japanese badminton player says.

The 25-year-old was involved in a road traffic accident in Malaysia earlier this year after winning the Malaysia Masters, suffering skin lacerations and an eye socket fracture.

"I can see without any problem while I'm playing," Momota updated reporters today (26 June).

"I've been able to give 100 per cent in practice."

Nearly gave up

Momota was on his way to Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 13 January when the van he was being driven in crashed into the back of a lorry.

The driver was killed, while two Japanese team officials and a Badminton World Federation technical officer were injured alongside the shuttler.

He re-joined the national training camp at the start of February, but withdrew just days later in favour of having surgery on his eye injury.

The Japanese star admitted that he considered his future in the sport while embarking on his injury rehabilitation.

"At the time I thought of giving it all up. After my accident I couldn't move at all, and I was striving to recover my fitness. Then the eye issue occurred and I was grappling with whether to have surgery or not.

"My spirit was almost broken."

"Don't want to make excuses"

Momota remains the one of the favourites to win Olympic gold on home soil at Tokyo 2020 next year.

No-one has knocked the Japanese off top spot in the BWF World Rankings since he first made it his own in September 2018, even with his enforced absence from competition.

But Momota has never been to an Olympics. His hopes of a Games debut at Rio 2016 were ended when he accepted a one-year suspension from the Nippon Badminton Association for visiting an illegal casino in Tokyo.

Despite the postponement of the Tokyo Games giving him a longer recovery time, Momota admitted he was upset when the Games were put back.

"I only had six months after the surgery [before the original Games dates]. I had no time to relax. I was trying to give my all every day.

"So it was difficult to process the feeling that I still had to do more."

But make no mistake, Momota hasn't wavered from his aim of Olympic glory.

"I want to do my best every day towards the goal," he said.

"I don't want to make excuses, saying I cannot do well because this or that happened."