Sports

Lee Chong Wei saddened by world No. 1 Kento Momota's accident

M'sian former shuttler wishes Japanese quick recovery

Former Malaysian badminton superstar Lee Chong Wei wished Kento Momota a speedy recovery, after the world No. 1 was involved in an accident yesterday.

The Japanese shuttler was injured in a pre-dawn vehicle collision along the Maju Expressway yesterday, just hours after he secured his first victory of the season at the Malaysia Masters.

"I spoke with him and, looking at his condition, I feel sorry. What's more, the crash happened after he won the title and was on his way back to Japan," the Malay Mail quoted Lee as saying after visiting the player at the Putrajaya Hospital.

"I know all badminton fans are concerned about his situation. Let's pray for Momota to fully recover and be back on the court."

Lee added that he was informed by Japan head coach Park Joo Bong that Momota needed at least two weeks' rest.

Momota and three others were thought to be on their way to Kuala Lumpur International Airport when the hired van they were in rammed into the rear of a 30-tonne truck, according to statements from the police and local fire department.

The driver of the van, Bavan Nageswarau, was killed in the accident, and his body had to be cut free from the wreckage.

Police and Malaysia's Badminton Association said that in addition to Momota, the three others involved in the incident were Akifumi Morimoto (physiotherapist), Yu Hirayama (assistant coach) and William Thomas, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) official.

INJURIES

The association said in a statement that Momota suffered multiple lacerations to his face, a broken nose and a fractured cheekbone.

Malaysia's Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the four were in stable condition and would be discharged once hospital officials were satisfied they were fit to be released, Reuters reported.

"Based on investigations and CT scans, there are no major injuries... they are now stable and will be given continued treatment and remain under observation for now," Dzulkefly said.

Japan's ambassador to Malaysia, Hiroshi Oka, who was with Dzulkefly on the visit, was grateful for the "care and support" given to those involved in the crash.

On Sunday, Momota defeated former world champion Viktor Axelsen to win the Malaysia Masters, the first tournament of the BWF 2020 World Tour season.

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