Kento Momota was banned by his national team for four months before the 2016 Rio Olympics. This year would have been his redeeming year at the Olympics, but 2020 Tokyo has been postponed till July 2021. Earlier in January, he suffered a car accident, which killed the driver and left the passengers including him injured.
In a recent interview, Momota has expressed some of his thoughts and ambitions concerning his career and winning the Olympics, as reported by Aiyuke.
Here are some of the excerpts.
Momota was asked how he felt about the postponement of the Olympics to 2021. He said that after his traffic accident in January, he only had five months to prepare for the Olympics and this made him very anxious. But since the postponement of the Olympics, he said he took the delay to calm down and gather himself mentally. He also added that the most important thing at the moment is the health of the people around the world and that there are no negative feelings about the postponement.
Momota adds that in the past, he studied the opponents both at home and international levels to gather knowledge about their tactics. Even though there are no tournaments held at the moment, he said, “even if you can’t compete with your opponent, you can still train while imagining your opponent.”
He added that a few months have passed since his traffic accident and his competitive self has returned and that his level of playing is up to the standard again. He also commented that he has realized his shortcomings and that he had worked to overcome and that he will be a better player next July. He said that he worked on his strength and his attacking power.
When he was asked what he thought his advantages are, Momota replied: “I think precise control and dexterity, don’t know if this counts.” He said that meticulous control of key points is of the utmost importance. He said, “Hitting the shuttle in various positions on the court to limit the opponent’s offence, taking the initiative to attack, and making the game progress in an advantageous manner for myself.”
About his ban back in 2016, Momota said he was really overwhelmed. He could not see clearly and that he was quite self-centered. He said he made the mistake of thinking he was the best player in Japan. He added, “Needless to say, I participated in tournaments… However, (after being suspended) I felt that the idea collapsed suddenly and there was nothing left. I had to re-examine myself and regain my forgotten original intention.”
Momota said his biggest reason for coming back is because of the support of the people that he has received. He thought that he could not play badminton anymore but the people from his team and company provided him with an environment where he can train and play again. He had to work from scratch and this was a great motivation for him.
“In 2016 I was banned, and the traffic accident in January this year, so many people continued to support me when I was down and ‘cannot play badminton anymore.’ To repay everyone, I want to be the Olympic champion at the Tokyo Olympics… Winning the Olympics is of great significance. It is not only significant for the Japanese badminton world, but for the entire Japanese sports world”, Momota added.