KUALA LUMPUR – The world’s top badminton player left hospital Wednesday following a crash that killed one person and injured him and another three earlier this week in Malaysia, according to authorities.
Japan’s Kento Momota, 25, was seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where he reportedly took a 9.40 am flight to Tokyo after being discharged from Putrajaya Hospital, having broken his nose following a Monday accident that killed the driver of his van and injured three others.
He was seen arriving in a black SUV surrounded by his entourage and was taken to a special room under heavy security measures.
The badminton star allegedly checked into the Sama Sama Hotel near the airport early Wednesday after being discharged to await his flight home.
Momota, who also suffered minor lacerations following the Monday crash, was traveling with 24-year-old driver Bavan Nageswarau – who died at the scene. With him were coach Morimoto Arkifuki, 42, his physio Hirayama Yu, 35, and English badminton player William Thomas, 30.
Doctors said Monday that Momota’s coach suffered a broken hand, while his physio sustained minor leg injuries. The added that Thomas required seven stitches on his head and that he suffered minor injuries on his right leg and thigh.
The accident took place at 4.30 am on Monday (Sunday, 8.30 pm GMT) on the Maju Expressway, officials said. The van the world no. 1 was traveling in crashed against a slow-moving truck, according to the police’s report of the incident.
The vehicle was on its way to the airport, where Momota was scheduled to take a flight home after having played in last week’s Malaysia Masters.
Momota won the tournament by defeating Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 24-22, 21-11 in 54 minutes. The Japanese shuttler is the favorite to clinch gold at this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Badminton is the second most played sport in the world after soccer, according to the badminton world federation, with an estimated 220 million players worldwide.