BWF World Championship: Kento Momota feeling ‘a lot of unease’ as he goals for third title
Struggling former badminton world No 1 Kento Momota stated on Sunday that he nonetheless feels “a lot of unease” as he bids to reclaim his world title subsequent week in Tokyo.
Japan’s Momota, as soon as the game’s undisputed king, has seen his profession descend into free fall since a automotive crash greater than two years in the past which left him badly harm.
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The 27-year-old has been in dismal kind this 12 months, dropping within the first spherical of 4 of the seven singles tournaments he has entered.
But he’s hoping that residence assist in Tokyo will help him upset the percentages and declare a 3rd title when the BWF World Championships start on Monday.
“I’m not feeling so bad in practice but I’m not managing to perform in games so there is still a lot of unease,” Momota instructed reporters, including that his confidence is returning “little by little”.
“It’s been a long time since I played in front of Japanese fans and I want to feel their support and enjoy playing in front of them.”
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Momota’s world was turned the wrong way up in January 2020 when the car taking him to Kuala Lumpur airport crashed hours after he gained the Malaysia Masters, killing the motive force and leaving the participant with a fractured eye socket.
He has been a shadow of his imperious former self since then and he stated Sunday that his purpose is to “focus on myself and play my best”.
“I’m feeling not so bad, although there is still a little bit of tiredness there,” he stated. “I need to listen to my body when I go into games.”
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Axelsen scorching favorite
Momota is now ranked quantity two on this planet having been changed on the high by Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.
Olympic champion Axelsen would be the scorching favorite to seize a second world title in Tokyo, having misplaced just one males’s singles match on courtroom on tour this season.
Axelsen switched coaches on the eve of the competitors and he believes he has “a good chance of doing really well here”.
“When you have won many tournaments, you believe that you can also win this one,” stated the 28-year-old, who claimed his earlier world title in 2017.
“I believe in myself but I also know that there are many strong competitors and every single day I have to be fully focussed.”
Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia can also be anticipated to supply a powerful problem and he would develop into his nation’s first-ever badminton world champion if he had been to win the title.
Reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore will try and defend his 2021 title whereas China’s Shi Yuqi is again in motion after serving a ban by the Chinese Badminton Association.
Shi, a world finalist in 2018, retired on match level throughout a 2021 match in opposition to Momota and was then banned for making “inappropriate comments” about his withdrawal.
Chinese state media stated Shi was “very excited to return to the court” after 10 months out.
“I have never been out of practice in the past 10 months. I think I am still in good form,” he was quoted as saying.
On the ladies’s facet, Japan’s Ayane Yamaguchi will try and retain her crown whereas Spain’s Carolina Marin is searching for a document fourth world title.
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