Shuttle ace injured in crash


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Newly-crowned Malaysian Masters winner Kento Momota is on the road to a full recovery after being involved in a collision which killed his van driver.

The Japanese was heading to the KL International Airport with three other passengers when the van appeared to have crashed into the back of a lorry along the Maju Expressway at about 4.45am yesterday.

Momota, who clinched the Malaysian Masters title on Sunday, suffered a right maxillary sinus and nasal bone fracture, cuts on his lips which required stitches and other facial injuries.

The 25-year-old driver, N. Bavan, who was pinned to his seat, died at the scene.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who visited Momota and the others at Hospital Putrajaya later, said he expected all to be discharged.

“Based on checks and CT scans, there are no major injuries. They should be discharged soon. For now, they will remain under observation,” he told reporters.

Serdang Fire and Rescue Department officials who responded to the emergency took some time to extract the body from the wreckage.

The other victims were assistant coach Yu Hirayama, 35, physiotherapist Akifumi Morimoto, 42, and Badminton World Federation technical officer William Thomas, 30.

Hirayama suffered facial and leg injuries while Morimoto escaped with a broken hand.

Thomas sustained leg injuries and also received seven stitches for a head injury.

Momota, 25, and the other two Japanese were to board a flight to Tokyo, while the Englishman was to fly to Jakarta for the Indonesian Masters competition.

All four, who were seated at the back passenger seats, were rushed in ambulances to the hospital where they are being warded.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said Momota and the three others were in stable condition.

“According to the doctors, all four are recovering well. We are monitoring them very closely. As the minister, I gave our full commitment to ensure they received the best treatment,” he told reporters at the hospital after visiting the victims.

Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Hiroshi Oka, who came with Dzulkefly, expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian government for the care and support given to the crash victims.

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, the former Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) patron, dropped by to comfort Momota and the others.

BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria and secretary Datuk Kenny Goh were also present.

On Sunday, Momota beat former world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark to win the Malaysian Masters singles title at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

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