Top men's badminton player tests positive

NHK has learned that the world's top men's singles badminton player, who is Japanese, has tested positive for COVID-19 and has canceled his planned tour to Thailand.

Sources related to the Nippon Badminton Association told NHK that Momota Kento tested positive at Narita Airport near Tokyo on Sunday.

He was about to depart for Thailand to take part in two international badminton tournaments starting on January 12.

Sources say Momota and other members of the national team gathered at a national training center in Tokyo on Saturday ahead of the tour.

The association has decided to cancel the tour for all Japanese athletes it had planned to send to the events.

Momota had come back from injuries sustained in a car accident in January last year. He took part in the Japanese National Badminton Championships in December, winning a third straight singles title.

He was hoping to return to the world tour, starting with Thailand.

The sport's top athletes from around the world were expected to take part in the events, which continue for two weeks. They will be first world-tour events to be held since the pandemic broke out around the globe.