(From AFP)

Japan has an opportunity to win gold in badminton at the Rio Olympics, All England Open champion Nozomi Okuhara said on Monday, a day after Japanese officials announced Kento Momota had been kicked off the team.

Nozomi Okuhara

Okuhara, who is in the city-state for this week’s Singapore Open, did not take questions from reporters about the ban on compatriot and Rio medal hopeful Momota during a news conference.

But when asked in general about the Japanese team’s prospects, she replied through an interpreter: “There’s an opportunity for us to win a gold medal and I believe we can do it.”

Okuhara, 21, said team spirit was high in the camp.

Momota, who had been tipped for a medal in Rio, was expelled from the team for this summer’s Olympics for gambling at an illegal casino.The Nippon Badminton Association threw the book at the 21-year-old world number two, banning him from competition indefinitely. Read More

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