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Badminton world shook as Number 1 Kento Momota injured in car crash, driver killed

Published 13 Jan 2020, 14:16 IST
13 Jan 2020, 14:16 IST

Kento Momota
Kento Momota

What's the story?

Japan's Kento Momota was injured when the hired van he was travelling in crashed into the back of a 30-tonne lorry. The vehicle collision happened pre-dawn.

The background

The World Number 1 had recently claimed his first victory of the season by winning the Malaysia Masters. Top seed Momota had defeated Denmark's Viktor Axelsen in the final of the Super 500 Tournament on January 12 in an intense 54-minute encounter. 

The heart of the matter

Badminton ace Momota was travelling to the Kuala Lumpur airport along with three fellow passengers.

The car accident came to light just hours after Momota's triumph at the Malaysia Masters 2020. The ace shuttler was headed for the airport when the van crashed into a slow-moving lorry. The driver of the van, identified as Bavan al Nageswarau, reportedly died at the spot of the accident while Momota suffered light injuries. 

A picture from the scene of the accident
A picture from the scene of the accident

The accident happened approximately at 4:45 AM (2040 GMT) and 10 firefighters immediately rushed to the site. In an official statement, Norazam Khamis of the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department said, 

"The van driver, a Malaysian, was found pinned to his seat and was later pronounced dead at the scene. His body was handed over to the police. The four passengers, (who sustained light injuries), were rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital for treatment. They were able to walk out of the van by themselves with some scratches."

The other three passengers were Hirayama Yu (a Japanese physiotherapist), Morimoto Arkifuki (Assistant Coach), and Foster William Thomas (British badminton technical officer).

The back of the Van seemed intact in pictures of the accident while the front is nearly crushed. 


The police revealed in a statement that Momota has injured his face and lips. The superstar shuttler also sustained a broken nose. Syed Saddiq, Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports, addressed the Press Conference at the hospital and confirmed that all four are in a stable condition. He further promised that all four would receive the best possible treatment and would be closely monitored. 

What's Next

25-year-old Momota is at the pinnacle of his career. He won as many as 11 titles in the last season including the All England Open, Asia Championships, and the prestigious World Championships. 

After beginning 2020 on a high by winning the Malaysia Open, the car crash comes as a shock. Although his condition is said to be stable, it can psychologically dent his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics 2020

Modified 13 Jan 2020, 14:16 IST
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