Kento Momota Retires from International Badminton Post Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2024

Conor Hudson

Fri Apr 19 2024

Kento Momota
Japanese National Team
Thomas & Uber Cup Finals
Career Reflection

Former world number one badminton player Kento Momota has announced his decision to part ways with the Japanese national team after the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup Finals. Momota reflected on his journey since a life-threatening car accident in 2020, expressing his emotional struggles and ultimate decision to retire from the international badminton scene.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Momota admitted to questioning why the accident had targeted him, leading to a period of immense difficulty and introspection. Despite facing numerous challenges, he refrained from blaming the accident, instead focusing on overcoming it with the support he received. The 29-year-old athlete revealed that the upcoming Thomas Cup would mark his final event representing Japan on the international stage.

Momota made history as the first Japanese player to win the world championship in 2018 and successfully defended his title the following year. However, persistent injuries hindered his bid to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics, leading him to acknowledge that reclaiming his former status as the world number one was no longer feasible. Embracing a sense of closure with the national team, Momota expressed a desire to contribute to others' enjoyment of the sport moving forward.

During his peak in 2019, Momota secured an unprecedented 11 titles globally, showcasing both triumphs and tribulations in his career. From being banned during the 2016 Rio Olympics due to a gambling scandal in Japan to surviving a fatal car crash in Malaysia post his Malaysia Masters victory in January 2020, Momota's journey has been marked by highs and lows. Despite experiencing a title drought until November 2021 and facing disappointment at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Momota remains determined to continue competing domestically in Japan's national championships and S/J League.

Kento Momota's decision to retire from international badminton post the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2024 signifies the end of an era for one of the sport's most accomplished athletes. While his career has been marred by adversity, including a near-fatal accident, Momota's resilience and dedication have left an indelible mark on the badminton community. As he transitions to a new chapter, Momota's legacy as a trailblazer and source of inspiration for aspiring badminton players remains steadfast.