TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese shuttler Kento Momota has qualified for the main draw of the Canada Open on his return to international badminton following a gambling ban.
The 22-year-old former world number two missed the 2016 Rio Olympics after being hit with a ban for visiting an illegal casino last year.
Momota made a winning return to the court after the ban was lifted in May, claiming the men’s singles title at a Japan Ranking Circuit tournament.
“I owe a lot of people for bringing me here and wanted to show my appreciation with each swing. I’m here to do my best and win all my games,” Kyodo news agency quoted him as saying on Wednesday.
After getting through the qualifiers, Momota, who will also compete at the U.S. Open later this month, beat fellow qualifier Bao Thien Vo 21-13 21-13 in the first round and faces Englishman Toby Penty next in the Calgary tournament.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Peter Rutherford)