Momota's Olympics build-up delayed after eye surgery

TOKYO • Injured Japanese star Kento Momota had surgery on a bone near his eye yesterday - dashing hopes of an early recovery.

The badminton world No. 1, hurt in a Malaysian car crash last month, was diagnosed with an orbital floor fracture after he suffered double vision during practice, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Doctors anticipated the bone would take three months to fully heal, the station said, adding that Momota, 25, had already been discharged following the surgery.

He was preparing to return to action at the March 11 All England Championships but will now miss the competition, NHK said.

Instead, he is expected to focus on treatment, it said, noting that his recovery was expected to be "considerably" delayed.

Momota returned to Japan in mid-January after suffering minor injuries following a car crash that killed his driver, just hours after he secured his first victory of the season at the Malaysia Masters by beating Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.

He had originally been expected to face two months out after suffering cuts to his face and multiple bruises when his vehicle crashed en route to Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Jan 13.

His latest injury appears to be a consequence of the accident.

"This one really took me by surprise," Japan head coach Park Joo-bong said in a statement released by the Nippon Badminton Association (NBA).

"We'll just have to see how it goes after surgery. I want him to prioritise his recovery without rushing it."

Momota had "extraordinary enthusiasm" about competing in the July 24-Aug 9 Tokyo Olympics, NBA secretary-general Kinji Zeniya said when the player returned home.

This setback will, however, cast a shadow on his preparations.

Momota enjoyed unrivalled success last year, with his 11-title haul including the World Championship, Asia Championship and All England Championship.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 09, 2020, with the headline 'Momota's Olympics build-up delayed after eye surgery'. Print Edition | Subscribe