Justin Hoh paid tribute to Japan’s decorated shuttler Kento Momota, who did not get a chance to play in his final international match after Malaysia secured a 3-1 victory to book a semi-finals showdown against China.

Momota was fielded as the third singles shuttler and would have played Hoh if the scores stood at 2-2, but it never materialized after Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin secured the winning point for the country in the second doubles.

“Happy retirement my idol,” posted Hoh on his social media page, with a picture of both players smiling.

Momota had announced his retirement from international badminton last month, and will now focus on playing club badminton in Japan and also plans to be involved at the grassroots level by working with juniors.

After the Malaysia defeat, the two-time world champion was seen in a warm embrace with Japan’s head coach Park Joo-bong, before he acknowledged the crowd at the arena in Chengdu, China.

Malaysia will forever be closely associated with the career of Momota.

Hours after winning the 2020 Malaysia Masters title, the 29-year-old was involved in a road accident which claimed the life of the driver transporting the Japanese contingent to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Competitive badminton was never the same for him since, having suffered double vision and underwent an eye socket surgery.

He tried to banish some of those demons after reaching the 2022 Malaysia Open final, but was soundly beaten by Viktor Axelsen to the title.

It is somewhat ironic that Momota’s career ended at the hands of Malaysia, but the soft-spoken southpaw will always be remembered for a glittering career, especially in 2019.

It was that year that Momota won a record 11 titles, which saw his name recorded into the Guinness World Records for the most badminton men’s singles titles in a season.

Momota’s career highlights includes two world and Asian gold medals, 16 titles on the World Tour and four on the previous Superseries circuit and lifting the Thomas Cup in 2014.