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Momota, Tai to light up Bangkok events

Momota, Tai to light up Bangkok events

BADMINTON: Top-ranked shuttlers Kento Momota of Japan and Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan will take part in three lucrative tournaments in Bangkok next month, the Badminton Association of Thailand said yesterday (Dec 9).

Badminton
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 10 December 2020, 09:36AM


World number one Kento Momota of Japan is making his long-awaited return to competition nearly a year after suffering serious injuries in a car crash. Photo: AFP

World number one Kento Momota of Japan is making his long-awaited return to competition nearly a year after suffering serious injuries in a car crash. Photo: AFP

BAT president Patama Leeswadtrakul said “all member associations of the Badminton World Federation” had promised to allow their top athletes to participate in the tournaments at Muang Thong Thani’s Impact Arena.

The Yonex Thailand Open will take place from Jan 12-17, the Toyota Thailand Open from Jan 19-24, and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals from Jan 27-31.

The first two events offer a total purse of US$1 million (B30mn) each, while the 2020 season-ending World Tour Finals has a total prize fund of $1.5 million.

Khunying Patama said member countries had confidence in Thailand’s handling of COVID-19. “It is a good opportunity for Thai fans to watch the world’s top players,” she said.

According to Patama, the men’s competitions will feature world No.1 Momota, No.2 Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan, No.3 Anders Antonsen and No.4 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, and No.5 Chen Long of China.

The women’s stars include No.1 Tai, No.2 Chen Yufei, No.3 Akane Yamaguchi and No.4 Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, and No.5 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.

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The two Thailand Open tournaments are for the world’s top 40 players who will battle for points that will ensure qualification for the season finale with the leading eight players in each category earning spots at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020.

Meanwhile, Momota yesterday announced his long-awaited return to competition nearly a year after suffering serious injuries in a car crash.

Momota will compete at the All-Japan national championships in Tokyo later this month before playing in Thailand following a difficult year in which he feared his career might be over after fracturing an eye socket in the accident.

“I’m nervous but I’m really looking forward to it,” said Momota.

He was badly hurt when the vehicle taking him to Kuala Lumpur’s airport just hours after he won the Malaysia Masters was involved in an accident that killed his driver in January.

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