In every country and every sport, there is always an athlete who defines many of the ‘firsts’ in the sport. Well, Kento Momota is the one in badminton who not only broke world records, but also became the ‘first’ men’s singles badminton player of Japan to win various prestigious tournaments for his country.
Let me take you across five best performances of Kento Momota, where he created history.
#5- 2018 Asian Championships
Within one year of his return from the gambling suspension, Kento Momota, the former World no. 2 stunned the Rio Olympics Gold medallist, Chen Long, to win his maiden Asian Championship title. To know more about the gambling controversy, click here. He won the match in straight games 21-17, 21-13 and this was his first victory over Chen Long in their five meetings. The 23-year-old reeled off seven straight points in the second game to clinch the title in one hour. The left-hander kissed the Japenese Flag on his jersey and signified his comeback on the International circuit, after his ban.
#4- 2018 Indonesia Open
The Japenese star went on to win his second Indonesia Open title in 2018. He defeated first seeded, Victor Axelson of Denmark in the men’s singles final. The 23-year-old started the match with a convincing 11-1 lead in the interval of the first game before closing the match 21-14, 21-9 after several unforced errors by the then World no. 1, Victor Axelson. This was Momota’s biggest title since his 2017 comeback as the Indonesia Open if one of the three Super 1000 tournaments on the annual badminton calendar.
Well, Momota booked his place in the finals after defeating the legend, Lee Chong Wei 23-21, 21-10 semifinals win.
#3–2018 World Championships
Japan’s, Kento Momota became the first-ever Japanese male player to win gold at the BWF World Championships. The explosive 23-year-old convincingly beat China’s Shi Yuqi, 21-11, 21-13 in the final to clinch the title. Though 22-year-old Yuqi was a higher seeded player, Momota used all his experience to dominate throughout the match. Ever since he won the Asian Championships against Chen Long, Momota was in an unbelievable form. After the Championship, Momota became the first Japenese men’s singles player to occupy the World no. 1 rank in the BWF rankings.
#2– 2019 All England Title
With an impressive 2018 season, Momota progressed into 2019 with even greater performances. The World no. 1 again scripted history by becoming the first Japenese men’s singles player to win the All England title. In the process, he defeated Victor Axelson 2-1 in the final. In his All England debut in 2014, he was defeated by Lee Chong Wei in straight games. This time he was playing for the first time in three years and did not disappoint his fans by prevailing 21-11, 15-21, 21-15 in badminton’s oldest tournament.
#1– 2019 BWF World Tour Finals
Momota ended the 2019 season in style by winning the BWF World Tour Finals. He thereby confirmed his status as the best men’s player on the planet by winning his 11th title of 2019. It was an intense encounter between World no. 7, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Momota. However, Momota prevailed 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 in 87 minutes of quality badminton play. Interestingly, Momota was 12-5 down in the deciding game but he eventually surged back to clinch the title. With this, Momota holds the record for the highest no of titles in a year which was previously held by Lee Chong Wei with 10 titles.
After Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, Kento Momota is the most consistent player in the men’s singles category. It is not easy to maintain this kind of form for such a long time. Despite various challenges, Momota has proved himself to be one of the greatest badminton players the World has witnessed.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
Thanks for reading. Keep playing.