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Badminton world champ Kento Momota heads home after injuries in Malaysia

Japanese world No. 1 badminton player Kento Momota, left, is pictured at an airport near Kuala Lumpur on Jan. 15, 2020, following his release from a hospital in Malaysia after being injured in a traffic accident on Jan. 13 on his way back to Japan. (Kyodo)
This undated photo shows Kento Momota, Japanese world No. 1 badminton player, as of Jan. 13, 2020. (Kyodo)

KUALA LUMPUR (Kyodo) -- World No. 1 men's badminton player Kento Momota left for his home country, Japan, on Wednesday after being injured in a car crash in Malaysia earlier this week.

Momota left a hospital in Putrajaya, Malaysia's federal administrative capital, Tuesday evening, according to a hospital source. He is expected to fly into Narita airport on Wednesday afternoon along with two members of his support team who were also involved in the accident.

The Nippon Badminton Association said Tuesday that Momota, 25, will skip next month's Asia Team Championships and aim to return to action at the All England Open, which gets under way on March 11 in Birmingham.

Momota was heading to Kuala Lumpur International Airport with three others when their van collided with the rear of a 30-ton truck early Monday morning, killing the Malaysian driver of the van. The passengers also included a British technical adviser for the Badminton World Federation.

Momota suffered a slight nasal bone fracture, according to a doctor at Putrajaya Hospital. He also sustained multiple laceration wounds to his face.

Momota and the other Japanese are "in stable condition," Badminton Association of Malaysia President Mohamad Norza Zakaria told reporters after seeing them off at the airport.

Swelling had lessened and Momota was anxious to go back to Japan as soon as possible, the official added.

Momota and the other passengers were also interviewed by police on Tuesday, according to the official. Most of them appear to have been asleep at the time of the accident, which happened in the early morning, he added.

The accident occurred just hours after Momota won the Malaysia Masters men's singles.

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