KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) said it is deeply saddened over the accident involving the world’s top shuttler Kento Momota, early today.
The 25-year-old men’s singles player suffered multiple laceration wounds on the face and right maxillary sinus and nasal bone fracture in the incident involving him, his support staff and a Badminton World Federation Hawkeye assistant.
A van ferrying them to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport crashed into a slow-moving lorry at Km13.7 of the Maju Expressway near here at about 4.40am
BAM president, Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria when contacted said the world No. 1 and Tokyo Olympics gold hopeful is currently under observation at the Putrajaya Hospital.
“Doctors have categorised his case as minor, once everything is clear, they will release him. At this moment, the injuries do not require any surgeries,” he told Bernama.
The van driver B. Nageswarau, 24, died at the scene.
Besides Momota, the other passengers were assistant coach Yu Hirayama, 35, (laceration wounds over the right shin); physiotherapist Morimoto Akifumi, 42, (cerebral concussion & closed fracture) and Hawkeye system operator William Thomas, 30, (laceration wounds over forehead & lower limbs).
“BAM is working closely with the Malaysian government and the Putrajaya Hospital to ensure they get the best medical services,” BAM had said earlier in a statement.
Momota was en route to Japan after winning his maiden title in Malaysia Masters at the Axiata Arena here, yesterday.
He had defeated former world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the final.
Momota was to play at the Indonesia Masters scheduled from tomorrow till Sunday at Istora Senayan, Jakarta but has withdrawn citing health reasons.
Momota, who topped the world ranking since end of September 2018 and won back-to-back World Championships in 2018 and 2019, is the Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medal favourite to deliver Japan’s first title in the men’s singles event.
Since badminton made debut as an official medal sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Japan had only won gold in the women’s doubles when Misaki Matsutomo/ Ayaka Takahashi bagged Japan’s first gold in the 2016 Rio Games. — Bernama