World No. 1 shuttler Kento Momota was eliminated in the first round of the Tokyo 2020 tournament.
After losing versus unseeded South Korean Heo Kwang-hee, Kento Momota’s hopes of capturing an Olympic gold medal were dashed.
K.H. Heo Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
World number one badminton player Kento Momota of Japan was upset by unseeded South Korean Heo Kwang-hee on Wednesday at the Tokyo Olympics. The match was won 21-15, 21-19 by Heo Kwang-hee, the 25-year-old world No. 38, in the group stage.
Momota was a serious candidate for gold in her home Olympics, thus her loss is a major setback for her country. After tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the event in the women’s singles bracket on day one, Japan was rocked by two more major upsets on day two.
Despite playing in 73 matches in 2019, Kento Momota only lost six of them. He set a new record by winning 11 titles. Momota, who was favoured to win the gold on home soil, was defeated by Kwang-hee in an only 52 minutes.
The Japanese player had a rough start, making many unusual errors before he found his rhythm. Momota did manage to go close in the second game, but he ultimately lost the match when he hit the net.
Momota swept his opening Group A match, winning all three games easily. While he did manage to get through Timothy Lam in straight sets (21-12, 21-19), his Olympic singles campaign ended much sooner than he would have liked. Earlier, another gold medal favourite, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, easily defeated Finland’s Kalle Koljonen 21-9, 21-13.
Results: Chou Tien-Chen and Tai Tzu Ying Victorious
Chou Tien-Chen, ranked third in the world, was locked in a tight match with Canada’s Brian Yang, ranked forty-fourth in the world, for almost an hour. It was a 21-18, 16-21, 22-20 victory for Chou.
Later in the day, Chou’s teammate Tai Tzu Ying had a similarly successful day in women’s singles, easily defeating Qi Xuefei of France in a match that lasted only 25 minutes. Tai won the match against Qi 21-10, 21-13, although he had a rough start to the Tokyo Olympics.
The ease with which she won her most recent match, though, gives her hope that she can advance far in the tournament. “This is my first time making it to the top eight at the Olympics,” Tai stated after the match. Currently, “the most crucial thing” is to become ready.
PV Sindhu, who won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, defeated NY Cheung of Hong Kong in a Group J match on Wednesday to move into the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s singles competition.
The Indian, who is only 26 years old, beat World No. 34 Cheung in 35 minutes by scores of 21-9 and 21-16. Sindhu has now defeated Cheung six times in a row.
Sindhu easily won the first game, 21-9, because to her dominating performance. Cheung couldn’t keep up with the Indian shuttler’s speed and range.
But in the second game, Cheung fought back and made it a real match. The second game ended 21-16, with Sindhu finally regaining her composure and playing to her full potential. One of India’s top medal hopes for the Tokyo Olympics, Sindhu is well on her way to achieving that goal.
In contrast, B Sai Praneeth, another Indian shuttler, was eliminated from the men’s singles competition. Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands beat Sai Praneeth of Thailand in a Group D match with a score of 14-21, 14-21.