August 6, 2018
Nanjing, China- Kento Momota became the first Japanese man to win a badminton world championship on Sunday, capturing the men's singles title in Nanjing, China.
Momota, seventh in the world rankings, defeated Shi Yuqi of China, ranked third in the world, 21-11, 21-13 in the final.
The victory means a resurgence of Momota, a 23-year-old southpaw, who was disgraced by illegal gambling in April 2016. A member of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp., Momota returned to competition in May 2017 after a suspension of about a year.
Upon winning the title, Momota kissed a small Japanese flag on the front of his uniform. "I thanked Japanese people for giving me another chance," he said.
Setting his sights on the future, Momota said, "I want to be a player who is loved and rooted for by people around the world, a player called a legend."
Earlier on Sunday, the Japanese pair of Wakana Nagahara and Mau Matsumoto earned the women's doubles title, beating compatriots Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in the final.
In the men's doubles, Japan's Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura lost to China's Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in the final, bagging the first silver medal for Japan in the event.
In the past world championships, Etsuko Toganoo and Emiko Ueno won gold in the women's doubles in 1977. In 2017, Nozomi Okuhara became the first Japanese woman to grab the singles title. Jiji Press
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