Kento Momota is fired-up to put on a good showing at this week’s Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) held at Setia Alam in Shah Alam to help the Japanese team qualify to the Thomas Cup on merit.
The world number 40 is in town to boost Japan’s challenge in the men’s singles after Kodai Naraoka, who is the country’s top ranked men’s singles ace had to withdraw at the last minute.
Japan head coach Park Joo-bong believes Momota will bring his best form to this Asian meet.
“He really wants to play in this tournament as he cannot qualify for the top-tier events due to his low world ranking. He is really motivated to discover his best form and playing in tournaments like this will help him.
“It will be difficult for him to qualify for the Paris Olympics, but he will be an important member of the Thomas Cup this year,” said Park.
Japan come to this BATC shorn of some of their stars including Naraoka and top ranked men’s doubles pair Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi.
In Naraoka’s absence, world number 12 Kenta Nishimoto will lead the men’s singles line-up with Momota and Koki Watanabe.
As for the women’s team, world number four women’s singles Akane Yamaguchi and Wakana Nagahara (women’s doubles) are also not part of the team.
But Japan are still stacked with quality, with the likes of Nozomi Okuhara and Aya Ohori to bolster their squad in the women’s team.
Park has set the BATC for Japan to qualify for the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in Chengdu in China.
“We want to reach the semi-finals of both the men and women’s events to qualify for the Thomas Cup & Uber Cup Finals,” he added.
Japan are in Group C of the BATC along with Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar for the men’s team, while the women’s team are in Group Z with Chinese Taipei and Singapore.
Mon Feb 12 2024
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