[ODDS and EVENS] Kento Momota reinvents himself as high badminton participant



Kento Momota’s title-winning efficiency on the Indonesia Masters got here at an opportune time in his season and profession.

In fact, each title is welcome, however some are extra necessary than others in giving athletes the arrogance they should stick with it with current success at the back of their minds.

1 Momota’s title win on Sunday, 21 November, was over a 21-17, 21-11 scientific choice over Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in Bali. The victory offered emotional reduction for Momota, a medal favourite on the Tokyo Olympics, who was knocked out in group-stage play.

“I’m very pleased. I’ve labored very laborious for this win,” the 27-year-old informed reporters after the match. “I used to be attempting to do my greatest in each the matches. I did not do anything,” he mentioned. And I wasn’t speeding my photographs. Doing my greatest, I bought there ultimately.”

As soon as there, Momota had little time to benefit from the brilliance of his fifteenth Badminton World Federation World Tour title.

He shifted his aggressive focus to the November 23–28 Indonesia Open, the next-to-last event of the 12 months. (There are separate world rankings and Tour rankings; within the latter class, Momota is quantity 7 within the rankings launched on Tuesday, November 23.)

However earlier than the beginning of his subsequent event, with victory to savor after an unexpectedly lengthy stretch with out a title (because the Malaysia Masters in January 2020), Momota’s feedback point out that he has taken a formidable kind. Appreciated the chance to check your expertise in opposition to the enemy.

Moreover, his love for competitors was displayed by tournaments within the Indonesian metropolis, most notably within the finals.

“Antonsen is a really sturdy opponent,” commented Momota. “I actually loved the match. However I do not assume he loved enjoying at present. I am drained now although, so I need to sleep all day tomorrow and do my greatest [Indonesia] Open subsequent week.

failures and challenges

A Tour title in 2021 is a far cry from Momota’s race for a record-setting 11-title trophy in 2019.

Nobody could be stunned if Momota had repeated its 2019 success story in 2020.

His total velocity, energy, depth and fast instincts fueled an unforgettable 2019 season, and he was on the peak of his powers.


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As a substitute, many of the 2020 season was canceled as a result of international pandemic. And earlier than the event’s first wave kicked off in March, Momota was recovering from accidents sustained in an vehicle accident after profitable the Malaysia Masters, together with a damaged proper eye socket.

Momota was in a van on his solution to Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport. The motive force died within the accident.

Shuttler’s facial accidents required surgical procedure to restore his eye in February.

In March 2020, Momota informed Olympics.com that the encouragement from followers helped encourage him as he ready to make a comeback.

“Thanks for the phrases of encouragement I bought, I need to purpose to win a gold medal,” he mentioned on the time.

Momota suffered one other setback on his approach again this January, when he was compelled to overlook a pair of tournaments in Thailand after he examined optimistic for COVID-19 earlier than the Japan nationwide crew left Tokyo. fell.

His return to the All England Open was pushed again to 18 March, and Momota’s first-round victory (21-12, 22-20 choice over India’s Parupalli Kashyap) generated a response that was hardly shocking. .

“I am glad I survived the primary spherical,” Momota mentioned. kyodo information,

vying for victory

Momota reached the semi-finals of the French Open on 30 October. He retired after profitable the primary sport 26–24 and shedding the second 21–11 as a result of a again sprain in his duel with compatriot Kanta Tsuneyama.

He was runner-up on the 2021 Denmark Open final week, shedding 22-20, 18-21, 12-21 to Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Viktor Axelsen.

Momota’s Denmark Open confirmed she has left behind the frustration of an Olympic expertise. For instance, he mercilessly traded photographs with Axelsen throughout massive components of the dynamic 93-minute match.

Three months in the past, Momota’s Olympic medal hopes vanished and he or she felt the heavy weight of the nation’s hopes on her sturdy shoulders.

“I’m grateful for all of the assist I’ve acquired. I am sorry I did not reside as much as everybody’s expectations.

“It was troublesome for me to cope with this case,” he added in his blunt evaluation of his final Olympic match. “I attempted to play aggressively, however I used to be not emotionally sturdy. My bodily situation is okay.

“It is laborious to play at my regular stage, however it’s a fantastic expertise to be right here.”


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Now, almost 4 months after Kento Momota appeared in an Olympic match, he has a number of the greatest sporting achievements to reap the benefits of as a constructing block for the foreseeable future.

Maybe combining 2020 and 2021 into one profession chapter greatest helps classify their profession ups and downs within the post-COVID-19 period.

However there’s a pleased memento for Momota because the 2021 Badminton World Federation season winds down.

“It takes numerous time. I received ultimately,” Momota mentioned, in response to kyodo information Bali after defeating Antonsen within the ultimate. “It is a results of me taking my No. 1 place apart and enjoying each shot with willpower.”

The BWF World Tour Finals, which can also be in Bali and begins on December 1, will probably be Momota’s final probability to show his willpower this 12 months.

associated: badminton | World No. 1 Kento Momota Grateful for Alternative to Compete for Olympic Delight

Writer: Ed Odeven

Observe Ed of Japan Ahead [Japan Sports Notebook] Right here on Sunday, in [Odds and Evens] Right here through the week, and Twitter ed_odeven.

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