Sunday, 24 August 2014 | MYT 4:28 PM
Momota draws on Thomas Cup confidence
Japan's Kento Momota shows off his custom-made T-shirt at the in Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen on Saturday.
COPENHAGEN: Youngster Kento Momota was proudly wearing a specially designed T-shirt – depicting the names of Japan’s Thomas Cup winning team during a training session at Ballerup Super Arena yesterday.
“I still cannot forget that moment. It was special. I played with so much confidence. We designed this T-shirt as a reminder of what we have achieved,” said the 20-year-old Momota, who played in the second singles.
Japan defied the odds to beat China 3-0 in the semi-finals and Malaysia 3-2 in the final to lift the trophy for the first time in New Delhi in May.
For their achievements, they were rewarded with US$5,000 (RM15,800) each, which they have yet to receive.
And some of the players including Momota also had an audience with their Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Although the Thomas Cup victory has given Momota a lot of confidence, he admitted it had taken it’s toll on his preparation for the World Championships.
He has put on three extra kilos and is now nursing a knee injury.
“It is not one of my best preparation going into this competition. Hopefully, I will be able to play moderately well,” he said.
Momota, ranked 14th in the world, is in the same quarter with top seed Lee Chong Wei and sixth seed Wang Zhengming of China.
“Chong Wei is really a strong player. For his age, his movement is very fast and even a young player like me is finding it hard to keep pace. He is also very skilful.
Hopefully, I will get a chance to meet him again,” said Momota.
Momota played against Chong Wei once and lost in the quarter-finals of the All-England this year.