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Kento Momota faces two months out after car crash

Badminton world No. 1 Kento Momota could be out for two months, after being injured in a car crash that killed his driver just hours after he won the Malaysia Masters on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Japanese suffered cuts and bruising in the accident near Kuala Lumpur, but is aiming to return at the All England Championships in March, said Kinji Zeniya, secretary general of Japan's Badminton Association yesterday.

Zeniya added that Momota, who won a record 11 titles last year, had "extraordinary enthusiasm towards the Olympics" this year in Tokyo, but urged Japan's gold medal hope to take time to recuperate fully.

"I hope he will do his best without pushing and rushing himself too hard, and without being impatient," he said.

Momota has been in hospital since Monday following the crash with a lorry as his party were heading to the airport.

The driver was killed, while Momota received cuts to his face and bruising all over his body, Zeniya said, denying previous reports that he had broken his nose and cheekbone.

An assistant coach, physiotherapist and badminton official were also injured.

Zeniya added that Momota will return to Japan today and would receive further medical checks.

"Cuts will be healed, but what will happen to the bruising later? I know injuries from car accidents can emerge after some time," he said.

The accident came after the Japanese star began his 2020 season in style on Sunday, with victory over Denmark's Viktor Axelsen in Kuala Lumpur. - AFP

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