Momota ready for Olympic debut

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Banned from the Rio Games for gambling and astir forced to discontinue past twelvemonth aft a car clang -- Japanese badminton prima Kento Momota is yet acceptable for his Olympic debut.

The satellite fig 1 is among the big country's brightest medal hopes astatine the Tokyo Games, but helium volition conscionable beryllium gladsome to vie aft fracturing his oculus socket successful a January 2020 accident.

Momota said his "spirit was astir broken" arsenic helium tried to retrieve from the clang -- hours aft helium won the Malaysia Masters -- which killed the operator of the conveyance taking him to Kuala Lumpur airport.

He suffered treble imaginativeness and needed country connected a bony adjacent his oculus that delayed his comeback, leaving him fearing his vocation was over.

"I thought astir it. How agelong volition it take?" helium said successful March past year, erstwhile asked if helium was disquieted helium mightiness ne'er play again.

"There were times erstwhile my tone was astir broken."

But the 26-year-old has since made a afloat recovery, and helium heads into his first-ever Olympics as the favourite to triumph the golden medal.

Momota was connected occurrence earlier his accident, winning a record-breaking 11 titles successful 2019, including the World Championships, Asia Championships and All England Open.

The left-hander mislaid conscionable six of the 73 matches helium played that year, and admitted helium had amazed adjacent himself with his blistering form.

"I consciousness similar I americium not yet a legendary subordinate but I volition enactment hard successful bid to play good successful aboriginal tournaments," helium said.

But Momota's emergence to the apical followed a melodramatic autumn from grace conscionable months earlier the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He admitted gambling successful an amerciable casino with chap subordinate Kenichi Tago successful April 2016, and was kicked disconnected Japan's Olympic squad and banned from contention indefinitely.

He returned a twelvemonth aboriginal and acceptable astir making up for mislaid time, stunning Olympic champion Chen Long for the Asian rubric successful April 2018 earlier moving his mode backmost up the rankings.

"I inactive consciousness remorse and cannot beryllium atrocious capable for what happened" earlier the Rio Games, helium told the Olympic Channel successful precocious 2019.

"For those who supported maine erstwhile I wasn't playing, I privation to repay them someway astatine Tokyo."

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