Tokyo Olympics: Gold-medal favourite Kento Momota gets knocked out in Group Stage
World No. 1 Japanese badminton sensation, Kento Momota, had his golden dreams for the Tokyo Olympics rudely upset as he failed to qualify the Group Stage.
The Tokyo Olympics is starting to resemble the picture of an 'Upset Fest' for top-billed Japanese stars as debutant Olympian and World No. 1 Kento Momota joined the list of shockingly ousted athletes like 4-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and gymnast Kohei Uchimura.
On Day 5 of the Tokyo Olympics, Kento Momota's Olympic dream shattered and the gold he was expected to win - became a little too far from his reach. Having already lost his debut match outing against America's Timothy Lam, 21-12, 21-9 at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, Kento Momota failed to find his magic spark against unseeded South Korean Heo Kwang-hee, losing again 21-15, 21-19. The World No. 1 failed to qualify his Group A draw and had to bow out of the Olympics on home soil as Kwang-hee pulled off what is, probably the biggest upset of his career.
Having missed out on the chance of representing Japan at the 2016 Rio Olympics after being banned for gambling at an illegal casino, the 'bad boy' of badminton became the 'golden boy' for Japan as he headed to Tokyo to debut, having survived a near-death experience and a pandemic.
However, the stars aligned incredibly poorly for the 26-year-old expectant badminton superstar who was sure shot medal hope at the Tokyo Olympics as he failed to win any of the matches at his debut Games. In fact, what's more glaring is that Momota did not even win a single game and that will be a shock that will take a while to digest - for Momota as well as his ardent fans alike.
A 2-time World Champion, Kento Momota had peaked in 2019 where he won a record 11 BWF titles and lost only 6 matches in the whole season, winning a whopping 73. However, after suffering a fatal car crash in January 2020, Momota was missing from badminton action for 14 months. Having only played 3 matches this year and reaching the quarters of the All England Open 2021 before arriving for the Tokyo Olympics, Momota looked starved for match-practice and his reckless errors are to credit for that.