Kento Momota

Joo Bong fires Thomas Cup warning to Malaysia

To give his team a morale booster for the World Championships in Tokyo in August, Kento Momota has vowed to lead Japan to their second Thomas Cup title as the tournament gets underway in Bangkok tomorrow.

The world No 2 is the only remaining member of the victorious side that clinch Japan’s first ever Thomas Cup title, in New Delhi in 2014 after prevailing 3-2 against Malaysia in the final.

The last time Momota, 27, came closest to lifting the prestigious trophy again was in Bangkok in 2018.

He led Japan to the final and also beat Chen Long in straight games in the first singles.

However, all his teammates lost in the following matches as Japan went down 3-1 to China.

In Aarhus last year, it was a familiar script albeit in the semi-finals, as Japan got eliminated yet again by China 3-1 despite Momota putting his team ahead by overcoming Shi Yuqi.

“I wasn’t satisfied with our semi-final outing at the last edition.

“All of us in the team must unite and work doubly hard to win the championship together,” Momota told the Japanese media recently.

|Winning a team competition gives a different joy than any ordinary individual meet.”

Japan’s head coach Park Joo Bong echoed Momota’s sentiments, saying that the team must improve on their result last year.

The Korean maestro sent out a clear warning to Malaysia that Momota and Co are aiming to qualify for the knockout stage as Group D champions.

“We will first play Malaysia in the group stage, and our aim is to advance to the first place.

Japan and Malaysia are in Group D which also has England and the United States.

Japan beat Malaysia 4-1 in the group stage last year.

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