Some start on the bottom and make it to the top. Few can establish dominance quickly and stay there for a long time. If there’s one player who has done the latter in the men’s singles division, it’s the Japanese paragon of men’s singles badminton, Kento Momota!
Kento Momota is one of the most decorated men’s singles players in badminton, with a total of 32 titles. Among his accomplishments are 19 World Tour titles, seven International Series titles, four Superseries titles, and two Grand Prix titles. Kento Momota is also a two-time Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Champion, as well as a two-time Asian Champion. Besides winning numerous titles in just seven years, Momota also shot up to the top of the Badminton World Rankings in 2021. He then held the top spot for 121 weeks, making him the seventh longest-reigning men’s singles player in history.
No doubt, Kento Momota is on his way to being one of the sport’s greatest players of all time. Join me in marvel as we revisit Kento Momota’s reign of dominance in my latest edition of Player Profile!
Early Life and Badminton Achievements
Born in Mino, Kagawa, on September 1, 1994. Kento Momota displayed talent with a racket and shuttlecock at an early age. After elementary school, he amassed multiple interschool badminton titles, including the All-Japan Junior Badminton Championships.
Later in 2011, Momota played at the BWF World Junior Championships. Once again, he lost to Zulfadli in the semis, meaning Momota had to settle for bronze again.
A year later, Momota had his eyes set on his first junior title. And that year, Momota redeemed himself, winning both the 2012 Badminton Asia Youth Championships and the 2012 BWF World Junior Championships.
2013 — A Senior Debut With a Bang at the International Series
After his stellar 2012 campaign, Kento Momota debuted as a senior badminton player in 2013. He played his first senior tournament at the beginning of the year at the 2013 Estonian International. Early on, he dominated the men’s singles event to win his first senior title.
2015 and 2016 Superseries Success
By 2015, Kento Momota had amassed enough ranking points to participate in the Superseries. His first Superseries fixture was the 2015 Singapore Open. There, he breezed to the finals to face China’s Hu Yun.
In a three-game barn-burner, Momota bested his Chinese opponent to win the Singapore Open. Not only did Momota bag his first Superseries title; he also made history by being the first Japanese men’s singles player to win the prestigious Superseries tournament.
Kento Momota then capped off a successful year with an impressive title victory at the 2015 Dubai World Superseries Finals. In the finals, Momota dominated the Danish GOAT Viktor Axelsen to put the entire badminton world on notice.
In 2016, Axelsen and Momota met again at the India Open. Like their previous encounter, Momota emerged the victor, defeating Axelsen in straight sets once again.
2016 Gambling Scandal
After the 2016 Malaysia Open, reports about Kento Momota frequenting an illegal casino in Tokyo surfaced. During the investigation of the reports, Momota admitted to his misdeed, confessing to gambling as much as ten million Yen (around $73,000).
The gambling scandal led to Momota’s disqualification from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Also, the Nippon Badminton Association barred Momota from competing in any tournament for the remainder of 2016 and early half of 2017.
Back at It in 2017
In June 2017, the Nippon Badminton Association reinstated Kento Momota. Reinvigorated by his return to action, Momota kicked off his title hunt at the 2017 Canada Open. Winning the runner-up position, Momota was off to a positive start.
From here, Momota went on a tear in the International Series. In just a month, he went undefeated and won the 2017 Yonex/K&D Graphics International Series, 2017 Belgian International, and 2017 Czech Open.
Momota then followed up his International Series title victories with two title hauls in the Grand Prix circuit. During the latter part of 2017, Momota bagged back-to-back victories at the 2017 Dutch Open and 2017 Macau Open.
World Tour Success
2019 was a particularly successful World Tour year for Momota as he bagged nine titles. He capped off his successful 2019 campaign with an impressive victory at the 2019 BWF World Tour Finals.
At the start of 2020, Momota defeated Viktor Axelsen once again to win the 2020 Malaysian Masters. However, the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and a disastrous car crash after the Malaysian Masters punctuated Momota’s title run in the World Tour.
World Championship and Asian Championship Victories
2018 and 2019 were successful years for Momota’s World Tour’s campaign. They were also the years when Momota bagged his Asian and World Championship crowns.
In April 2018, Momota won the Badminton Asia Championships after defeating Chen Long in the finals. Momota successfully defended his Asian Championship title a year later when he defeated Shi Yuqi in a three-game match.
Kento Momota — On a One-way Trip to Greatness
Kento Momota continues to thrill fans with his relentless pace and dominant performances on the court. Whatever he has coming up, one thing is for sure: Kento Momota is on his way to becoming one of the sport’s greatest badminton players.
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