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Former badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei speaking after visiting Kento Momota at Putrajaya Hospital.- AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Former world No. 1 Datuk Lee Datuk Chong Wei said now was not the time to talk about Kento Momota’s Olympic chances following the Japanese star’s close shave with death yesterday.

Momota, who had won the Malaysia Masters title on Sunday, suffered multiple lacerations on his face and right maxillary sinus, as well as a nasal bone fracture in a road crash.

Lee, who visited Momota at Putrajaya Hospital, said the incident was a tragedy.

“What happened this morning (yesterday) is really tragic. No one wants this. It’s not just us Malaysians who are concerned, but the whole world.

“I had a chat with Japan’s chief coach (Park Joo-bong) and he said they are trying to get back to Japan as soon as possible.

“I also spoke to Momota. We all want to see him back on court, but for now, let’s wish him a speedy recovery.”

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had visited Momota earlier, followed by Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria.

Norza told Bernama that doctors had categorised Momota’s injuries as minor, and that he did not require surgery.

“BAM is working with the government and Putrajaya Hospital to ensure that they get the best medical services.”

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) expressed relief that Momota and his fellow passengers survived the crash.

BWF also extended its condolences to the family of Bavan Nageswarau, 24, the driver of the van who died at the scene.

BWF secretary-general Thomas Lund thanked BAM and emergency services for their action.

“Thankfully, Momota, two members of the Japanese support staff and a Hawkeye system operator are in stable condition.

“Their welfare is our No. 1 concern and I can ensure all is being done to support them at this time.”

He said a BWF manager was at Putrajaya Hospital, where Momota and the others were warded, throughout the morning to provide help.

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