Kento Momota shrugs off nerves to win All Japan title

Badminton's world No. 1 Kento Momota won the All Japan championships yesterday to complete the first step of his comeback, nearly a year after suffering serious injuries in a car crash.

Momota came from behind to beat world No. 11 Kanta Tsuneyama 18-21, 21-12, 21-17 in Tokyo, marking a successful return from the January accident in Malaysia that left him fearing his career might be over after fracturing an eye socket.

The vehicle taking him to the airport after he won the Malaysia Masters had crashed, killing the driver.

Admitting that he was nervous as he returned to competition last week in Tokyo, Momota was pushed to the limit by Tsuneyama, who took him to 16-16 in the final game only to crumble with victory in sight.

"I hadn't played for a long time so I was very anxious going into each match," said Momota. "But I think my game will start to return now that I've won this title." - AFP