(Reuters) - World number one Kento Momota will be out of action for at least three more months following surgery for a fractured right eye socket sustained in a road accident in Malaysia last month.
The 25-year-old, one of Japan’s major hopes for a gold medal at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, also suffered facial lacerations and a nasal fracture when the van he was travelling in crashed into a truck on Jan. 13, killing the van driver.
The accident occurred hours after Momota had secured his first victory of the season at the Malaysia Masters.
Momota opted to have surgery as he experienced discomfort in his eye after returning to training on Monday, the sport's governing body BWF said in a statement here on Saturday.
The injury is a further blow to Momota’s preparations for the Olympics and he will not defend his title at the All England championships next month.
“This one really took me by surprise,” BWF quoted Japan head coach Park Joo Bong as saying in a statement released by the country’s badminton association.
“We’ll just have to see how it goes after surgery. I want him to prioritize his recovery without rushing it.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris