Two-time world champion Kento Momota became the first badminton player to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards when he was named as contender for the ‘Laureus World Comeback of the Year’.
Momota’s courageous return from a serious accident in January 2020 to winning the All-Japan National Championships in December has been recognised by the award panel. Momota, after winning the PERODUA Malaysia Masters, was on his way to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport when his car met with an accident which, unfortunately, killed the driver.
Momota, two Japanese team staff, and a HawkEye system operator were injured. Momota suffered multiple laceration wounds to his face, besides a right maxillary sinus and nasal bone fracture, and was rushed to hospital.
Upon return to Japan, Momota was found to have an orbital floor fracture in his right eye, which needed surgery.
Momota was nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year with five others: Alex Morgan (USA, football); Alex Smith (USA, American Football); Daniel Baird (USA, baseball); Max Parrot (Canada, snowboarding) and Mikaela Shiffrin (USA, skiing).
Momota’s nomination states: “The world No.1 made his return to competition in the All-Japan National Championships in Tokyo in December. He feared his career might be over after fracturing an eye socket in a car crash on the way to Kuala Lumpur airport after his victory in the Malaysia Masters last January, in which his driver was killed. Momota, who was expected to be one of Japan’s favourites for a gold medal in Tokyo, is now trying to recapture the form that saw him win 11 titles last year. He admitted his spirit was ‘almost broken’ after surgery which left him with impaired vision.”
With the Laureus nomination, Momota, who received recognition from Guinness World Records in December 2019 for the most badminton men’s singles titles won in a season, continues to be a flagbearer for badminton’s growing popularity worldwide.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards, to be held in early May, will be a virtual event in place of the annual gala.
Did You Know?
Two badminton players are Laureus Ambassadors. One is five-time world champion Lin Dan; the other is 1990 Commonwealth Games mixed doubles champion Amy Chan Lim Chee of Hong Kong China.