Top Japanese badminton player Kento Momota injured in Malaysia expressway crash

The driver of the van carrying the Malaysia Masters men's singles winner to Kuala Lumpur International Airport died on the spot

Ace Japanese badminton player Kento Momota was injured in an accident on a Malaysian highway on Monday (January 13). The van, which was carrying Momota to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, crashed into a truck, killing the driver on the spot.

Kento Momota
Instagram/Kento Momota

Details of the accident

The van, carrying the 26-year old Momota and three others, crashed into the rear of a 30-tonne truck at about 4:40 a.m. [local time]. The van was on the MEX highway (Maju Expressway), en route to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, when the accident took place, CNA reported. Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director Hafisham Mohd Noor said the department received a call on the accident at 4:57 a.m. [local time]. A total of 10 fire-fighters were involved in the rescue operation.

The driver of the vehicle dies

The 24-year old driver ferrying the players, Bavan Nageswarau, died on the spot, Selangor Fire and Rescue Department Director said. Momota and three others suffered minor injuries in the accident. The three are Hirayama Yu (35), a badminton coaching staff; Morimoto Arkifuki (42) and William Thomas (30), a badminton player from England.

Former international player Tan Kim Her, who is the men's doubles coach for the Japanese national team, confirmed Momota was among the four injured in the crash. All the injured and the body of the deceased driver were taken to Putrajaya Hospital. Momota is in a stable condition, Japan's national team coach said. Momota suffered a broken nose and injuries to his face and lip.

"They are in stable condition but are currently under observation for another six to seven hours to see if they are okay," Tan Kim Her said. On Sunday, a day before the accident, Momota won the Malaysia Masters men's singles title, after defeating former world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the final at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.