BUKIT JALIL: With his fiery red new hairstyle, Japan’s rising star Kento Momota is ready to take the world by storm.
The 2012 world junior champion from the Kagawa prefecture has been enjoying a stellar rise through the ranks.
Last year, Momota, who turned 20 last Thursday, achieved a career best as he made the semi-finals of the China Open, before losing to China’s Wang Zhengming.
Having risen significantly through the ranks, from No. 89 last January to a current career high of No. 17 in the world, Momota who sports a cool and calm demeanour much like Lin Dan, believes he can only get better.
There are many incentives to spur the young Momota to do well, especially with Japan setting their sights on the Thomas Cup Finals which will be held in New Delhi in May.
Momota is currently the third-ranked Japanese, behind world No. 5 Kenichi Tago and Takuma Ueda who is No. 15.
KUALA LUMPUR: World badminton number one Lee Chong Wei is one step closer to winning the Korean Open Super Series Badminton Tournament Championship for the fourth time after confirming a slot in the finals on Sunday.
The Malaysian beat fifth-seeded Kenichi Tago from Japan 21-17, 21-17 in a thrilling 51-minute semi-final match at the Olympics 2 Stadium in Seoul on Saturday.
However, he is expected to receive stiff resistance from rival Chen Long of China, who disposed veteran Thai player Boonsak Ponsana 21-15 and 21-9.
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has had enough of being the sole flag bearer for Malaysian badminton on the international scene.
And on Friday, after reaching the men’s singles’ semi-finals of the Korean Open in Seoul, he issued a clarion call to all his team-mates – especially the younger ones – to wake up and step out of their comfort zone.
The 31-year-old Chong Wei bulldozed past a hapless Du Pengyu of China 21-9, 21-12 in just 35 minutes to set up a meeting with Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the semi-finals on Saturday.
He is the only Malaysian survivor in the season-opener after Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem went down with a whimper against top seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the men’s doubles quarter-finals.
The Malaysians lost 10-21, 9-21 in just 31 minutes.
Two-time Olympic Games silver medallist Chong Wei said that it was time everyone stopped depending on him, starting with the Korean Open.