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Japan’s Kento Momota out of Asian Games 2022 due to injury

Struggling former badminton world number one Kento Momota has pulled out of this month’s Asian Games because of injury, the Japanese Olympic Committee said on Friday.

Momota, whose world ranking has tumbled to 48 after a series of disappointing performances and injuries, had been chosen to play for Japan in the men’s team event at the September 23-October 8 Games in China’s Hangzhou.

He was replaced by world number 30 Koki Watanabe.

Momota’s career has been in free fall since a car crash three years ago left him badly hurt and killed the driver of the vehicle he was travelling in.

He won a record-breaking 11 titles in 2019, losing just six of the 73 matches he played and looking every inch a legend in the making.

Then came the crash, which left him with double vision and required surgery on a bone near his eye.

Momota, who turned 29 on Friday, lost in the last 16 of the men’s singles competition at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta but went on to win bronze in the men’s team event.

He lost to Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie in the first round of the Australian Open at his latest tournament appearance last month.

He also lost in the first round to Watanabe at the Japan Open in Tokyo in July.

Momota did not appear at last month’s world championships in Copenhagen.

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