BELGIAN INTERNATIONAL – Momota roars, Qi bows

The Yonex Belgium International ended on Saturday in Leuven, with a win from Kento Momota, who is slowly climbing his way back to the top of the World Ranking. Spanish […]

The Yonex Belgium International ended on Saturday in Leuven, with a win from , who is slowly climbing his way back to the top of the World Ranking. Spanish Beatriz Corrales won without a fight as her opponent Qi Xuefei had to withdraw due to an injured knee.

Story by Raphael Sachetat. Photos (live): Fons Van der Vorst 

Once again, Kento Momota had to go through the qualifying stage of a lesser known tournament. And once again, he passed all obstacles easily to feature in the final of the event. This time, in Leuven, Belgium, for the Yonex Belgian International tournament –grade . But the Japanese, still world’s 213, was facing another young promising shuttler: Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, 63rd on the BWF world Ranking. And even if the Hong Kong player took an early lead by big smashes, he soon started to commit mistakes, while the Japanese was mastering the net. On a spending cross court net shot, Momota got his first game point at 20-12, which he converted on a net spin two points later 21-14. The second game was somewhat similar, with Momota and Lee rejoicing the 1000 strong crowd of the with some inspiring net play. But it was often the Japanese taking the edge in this part of the game. Momota

led 15-10 then 17-12, but the young Hong Kong shuttler played some bright badminton to catch up 15-17. Momota then took the lead again 20-17 but Lee saved one match point on a reflex shot after Momota’s rush, but the latter nailed it on the second chance for a final 21-14, 21-18 win, taking the 2000 US$ cheque and 4000 points to go with the win. The Belgium International is his third tournament since his one year ban for gambling – he had already won the US International Series in August after reaching the final in Canada. This win should help him get closer to the top 100, but not quite enough to play the qualifying rounds of a Superseries – he will be missing out on his home event next week in Tokyo. The former world number 2 had told Mark Phelan, Badminton Europe’s commentator that his main goal was to fight his way back into the World’s top 10 and recover his “honour”.

The spectators had to wait for a while before watching this men’s singles final as the final of the women’s single couldn’t be played after one of the two finalists had to pull out: Qi Xuefei could not play her chances to beat Spain’s Corrales. A shame for the Chinese, who has had a tremendous season so far, but her knee had swollen before the final.  “I hurt my knee during the quarter final against Mette Poulsen – Iin fact I thought I would have to give up before semi final, but I thought I had a good chance to win my semi final even if I didn’t move very fast. But this morning, my knee had swallowed and I just couldn’t move at all. It’s not a big injury but I need to take care of it – I play too many matches,

from qualification rounds to later stages of event and my knee can’t take it. I will come back stronger, it’s already a good start for the season” says Qi. The Chinese born is hoping to become a French citizen soon – she has been living in Britanny (west coast of France) for a few years and studies French. She will soon get married to her French boyfriend who plays in her club of Rostronen. “It’s not so easy to play for France. There is a lot of paperwork and I need to pass a French test. But we really hope it will be possible before the end of the year, because now I don’t have any sparring partners to practice, I don’t have badminton place to play in everyday and I don’t have a coach anymore. I really need more to try to play my best level” she told Badzine.

Earlier in the day, Dutch Selena Piek came back in style after the end of her partnership with Eefjie Muskens as she scooped two titles. She and her partner Jacco Arends beat in the final the new pairing of Scott Evans and Amanda Hogstrom, who had beaten French’s top pair of Labar/Fontaine in the semi while Piek and her new partner Cheryl Seinen took the best of Jille/Van Der Aar

The men’s double final saw Denmark’s  Fladberg/Colberg beat top seeds from England Wolfenden/Briggs

All results here




Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.