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Malaysia highway accident kills 1; Japanese shuttler Kento Momota among 4 others injured

Malaysia highway accident kills 1; Japanese shuttler Kento Momota among 4 others injured

The van was on its way to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. (Photo: Bernama / Fire and Rescue Department)

KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton world number one Kento Momota was injured in a pre-dawn vehicle collision in Malaysia on Monday (Jan 13), just hours after he secured his first victory of the season at the Malaysia Masters.

The Japanese shuttler and three others were on their way to Kuala Lumpur International Airport when the hired van they were in rammed into the rear of a 30-tonne truck at about 4.40am, according to statements from the police and local fire department.

Emergency responders were alerted to the incident at about 5am.

The driver, Bavan Nageswarau, was pinned to his seat and died at the scene, said Selangor Fire and Rescue Department Director Norazam Khamis.

Police and Malaysia's badminton association (BAM) said that in addition to Momota, the three others involved in the incident were his physiotherapist, his assistant coach and a Badminton World Federation official.

These were Hirayama Yu, Morimoto Arkifuki and William Thomas.

Japan's Kento Momota poses with his medal after winning the men's singles final match against Denmark's Viktor Axelsen during the awards presentation at the Malaysia Open badminton tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Jan 12, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

READ: Badminton: Japan's Kento Momota easily wins Malaysia Masters 

The driver's body and those injured were taken to Putrajaya Hospital.

Momota suffered a broken nose, facial injuries and needed stitches for cuts on his lips, Serdang Police Chief ACP Ismadi Borhan told reporters.

Hirayama sustained facial injuries and injured her right leg, while Arkifumi's hand was broken, he said.

Thomas suffered leg injuries and also had to be given seven stitches on his head, he added.

Malaysia's Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the four were in stable condition and would be discharged once hospital officials were satisfied they were fit to be released.

"Based on investigations and CT scans, there are no major injuries ... They are now stable and will be given continued treatment and remain under observation for now," Dzulkefly said briefly outside Putrajaya Hospital.

Japan's Ambassador to Malaysia, Hiroshi Oka, who was with Dzulkefly on the visit, was grateful for the "care and support" given to those involved in the crash.

The incident comes a day after Momota won the Malaysia Masters men's singles title, his first at the prestigious tournament after chasing it for many years.

He defeated former world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the final.


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