Kento Momota will not be participating in the much awaited Asian leg of the BWF World Tour after the world number one tested positive for COVID-19.
Momota and the rest of the Japanese contingent had gathered a day earlier at the National Training Centre in Tokyo a day earlier and was due to fly out to Bangkok on Sunday evening.
Due to the world champion's result, the Nippon Badminton Association subsequently withdrew all their shuttlers from both the Yonex Thailand Open (January 12th-17th) and Toyota Thailand Open (January 19th-24th).
The world body and the Badminton Association Thailand will now proceed to invite replacement shuttlers from the reserve list who are already scheduled to arrive into the country.
Besides Momota, the other top Japanese shuttlers who were slated for participation were women’s singles Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara, ranked third and fourth in the world respectively.
The men’s and women’s doubles pairs were also expected to contend for the titles in the much awaited season return.
Momota’s predicament also means he will have to wait much longer to return to the international scene.
He played only one BWF World Tour tournament at the Malaysia Masters last year.
Meanwhile, the men's doubles titles is set to be an open affair after Indonesian world number one Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo tested positive for COVID-19 and pulled out along with his partner Marcus Gideon Fernaldi.
The top pair's absence, coupled with the withdrawals of Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda and Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe, means that the men's doubles category in Thailand is shorn of three pairings in the world top five rankings.