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Is Kento Momota the next badminton legend we are looking for? 

Yonex Japan Open - Day 6
Kento Momota
Gopal Kumar
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 29 Sep 2018, 22:26 IST
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Badminton, like any other game, is full of uncertainties. Many a time there are huge ups and downs in a player's life. To be the best, their fitness, along with speed and quick decision-making, is crucial. Sometimes a player makes a comeback and starts dominating the whole scenario suddenly. And this quick domination usually fades away after a series of wins in the major events of the sport.

But, when legends come to our mind, their consistency is quite clear. Particularly talking of the men's singles discipline, the four legends have their specific skill set along with regular expertise. While Lin Dan's footwork is a secret, Lee Chong Wei's speed is incomparable. Taufik Hidayat too deserves a name here for his too perfect backhand. Also, Peter Gade's trick shots are always worth watching.

What about the current situation though?

Is there any shuttler near to what these legends established as top class badminton players?

Those following men's singles for the last few months might have an answer with them. And it is none other than Kento Momota.

Well, this is very true that he has all the capability to be the one. But there are several factors which will be determining its realization. Srikanth, Axelsen and Son Wan Ho all have dominated the court at some point of time, but lost their charm over time. Here in this case also, one player can be a threat for him. Momota lost to A S Ginting in both the China Open final and the Asian Games.

But, apart from these two close losses to the Indonesian player, the 24-year-old sensation has won the World Championships (first from japan), the Asian Championships, the Indonesia Open and the Japan Open in the past few months. Basically he is going good overall. This youngest Japanese to have won a Superseries title holds a 9-2 win-loss record over Victor Axelsen. He is also the India Open winner of 2016.

After news of him getting involved in illegal gambling surfaced, he had to miss the 2016 Olympics and face a ban of three years. But the way he is playing now, seems to be the fruit of the long practice he did while in exile from world badminton. His aggression says this all.

As of now, he is back as the best version of himself. But the only thing remains to be seen here is -- whether he will be able to maintain his streak of finals or not. Badminton is a game where a single win or loss can make or break you.

Undoubtedly, the key to being a legend is consistency. He has won 241 of the 310 singles matches he played. Being 24, he has age on his side. Let's hope Momota makes the full use of his opportunities and keeps impressing the badminton world like he is doing now.

Published 29 Sep 2018, 22:26 IST
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