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BADMINTON

History-maker Momota crashes in Copenhagen

Surprise defeat of Kento Momota on opening day of the World Badminton Championships at the Ballerup Super Arena.

History-maker Momota crashes in Copenhagen
Kento Momota of Japan in action against Wei Nan of Hong Kong during their first match in Badminton World Championship in Copenhagen Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix
Kento Momota, the brilliant 20-year-old left-hander who helped make a piece of badminton history at Delhi in May, caused another sensation when he exited the World Championships in suburban Copenhagen within two hours of the start on Monday.
 
Momota played a crucial role in the defeats of China and Malaysia which earned Japan the Thomas Cup world team title for the very first time, but was now overturned by a man he beat during that sequence of triumphs.
 
This was Wei Nan, the world number 20 from Hong Kong, who trailed by a game and 11-15, and yet fought tenaciously back to impose an 18-21, 21-18, 21-12 reverse on Momota.
 
It was hard to believe that Wei had managed only 23 points in two games from his opponent three months ago, so ruthlessly did he now take advantage of Momota's decline in pace in the second half of the match.
 
There was a suspicion that this may partly have been due to a knee injury Momota sustained in training, but there was no doubting the tenacity with which Wei took the chances which unexpectedly arrived.
 
"I was upset by that loss in Delhi and I told myself to struggle hard if I found myself losing again," Wei said. "I could feel he was beginning to slow in the third game and I was able to find openings to attack."
 
Wei now has a chance of a last 16 encounter, probably against Wang Zhengming, the 13th seeded Chinese, and perhaps of progressing to a quarter-final with Lee Chong Wei, the top-seeded world number one from Malaysia.
 
Lee, who was due for an opener against Lee Dong Keun, the world number 32 from Korea, has remarkably never won the world title.
 
Now though, with the titleholder Lin Dan absent, and two top ten players, Kenichi Tago of Japan, and Simon Santoso of Indonesia, both withdrawing, he may never have a better chance.

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MATCH-FIXING

Denmark makes racket over ‘match-fixing’ Chinese badminton players

The national association for badminton in Denmark says the sport’s world federation should punish Chinese players for a match at last week’s Fuzhou China Open which has been described as a “farce”.

Denmark makes racket over 'match-fixing' Chinese badminton players
China's Junhui Li, left, and Yuchen Liu, seen here during a different match, lost in the controversial quarter-final in Fuzhou. AP Photo/Aaron Favila/Ritzau Scanpix

Bo Jensen, director of Badminton Denmark, wants the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to take action after seeing footage of a quarter final match in which He Jiting and Ta Qiang defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in three sets.

“I am giving my support to the criticism. This is cheating, it’s match-fixing and we can’t accept it,” Jensen said to TV2 Sport.

“In our context, this is just as bad as doping, and it must be punished because if it is not, we will damage the sport’s reputation amongst fans and the many sponsors that are making huge investments at the moment,” he added.

Several Danish badminton players are reported to have been present during the match. Doubles pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Mads Conrad-Petersen lodged a complaint with tournament organisers following the match about the way it had been played.

Another player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, later posted an update on Facebook in which he compared the match to a scandal during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, when eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for deliberately trying to lose.

“This was a complete farce of a match which made me think of the London Olympics when 4 pairs deliberately tried to lose their matches. I kid you not, it was this bad,” Vittinghus wrote, citing errors in play that “just (don’t) happen at this level”.

“Difficult to get hard evidence, but if you have watched a bare minimum of world class badminton, you’d know what just happened,” he also wrote.

The BWF told TV2 Sport that it would not comment on the issue prior to receiving a report from the tournament’s organisers.

READ ALSO: Danish badminton star wins Chinese fans with Mandarin skills