Driver killed, world badminton no. 1 injured in crash en route to Kuala Lumpur airport

Japan’s Kento Momota plays a shot during the men’s singles semi-final match against India’s Parupalli Kashyap at the Korea Open badminton tournament in Incheon on September 28, 2019. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)
Japan’s Kento Momota plays a shot during the men’s singles semi-final match against India’s Parupalli Kashyap at the Korea Open badminton tournament in Incheon on September 28, 2019. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

Tragedy struck early this morning when a van taking world badminton No. 1 Kento Momota to Kuala Lumpur International Airport collided with a truck along the MEX highway, killing the driver.

Momota suffered a broken nose, a fractured cheekbone, and required stitches following the accident, and was treated at the nearby Putrajaya Hospital. First responders, however, were unable to save the driver of the van, 24-year-old N. Bavan, who was killed at the scene. Three other passengers also suffered injuries, and are reportedly in stable condition under medical observation, according to Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

“We are monitoring all of them very closely,” he told reporters at the hospital today.

“As the minister, we give our full commitment to ensure that they receive the best treatment.”

The other passengers were identified as Hirayama Yu, a 35-year-old badminton coach, and Morimoto Akifumi, a 42-year-old physiotherapist — both from Japan — and William Thomas, a 30-year-old British technical officer from the Badminton World Federation.

Momota was on his way to the airport after emerging victorious at the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2020 badminton tournament, where he won the men’s singles category.

 

Related: Badminton star Lee Chong Wei retires after cancer battle

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