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Published: Monday May 26, 2014 MYT 7:23:00 PM
Updated: Monday May 26, 2014 MYT 7:39:58 PM

Thomas Cup: Malaysian behind giant-killer Kento Momota

PETALING JAYA: Izuan Ibrahim has no regrets having coached young Japanese shuttler Kento Momota, who scored a crucial point against Malaysia in Sunday's Thomas Cup final.

Momota's smashing straight set win against Chong Wei Feng gave Japan a 2-1 lead and much needed confidence to his teammates.

Japan eventually beat Malaysia 3-2 to clinch their first Thomas Cup title in New Delhi.

But the man behind 19-year-old Momota's meteoric rise is Izuan, a former Nusa Mahsuri coach.

Izuan used to coach the Japanese back-up squad when Momota was a member. 

Before the final, Izuan, 30, who is now coaching the Nihong Badminton Association in Japan, said in his Facebook he has no qualms supporting the Malaysian team.

“People keep asking me which team I will support. If I’m still the national coach and (Kento) Momota still under me, 100% I will support Japan.

“I will pray for the Malaysia team, it’s my country. I will not betray my country. Japan paid me and they want me to improve their players but they didn’t pay me to change my nationality.

“I’m still Malaysian. Using a Malaysian passport. Good luck Malaysia,” he said.

In an earlier status, Izuan mentioned about Zulfadli Zulkiffli, who had beaten Momota in the semi-final of the World Junior Championship in 2011.

“In 2011, I was happy to see Zulfadli become the World and Asian Junior singles champion. I was sad because I couldn’t help Momota to win his semi-final match against Zulfadli in the World Junior Championship.

“Come 2014, Momota’s game has matured and won his games against established opponents. Sad to see where Zulfadli is now. He used to beat Momota easily in the junior circuit!” he said.

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