Philippines' top karateka bares alleged politicking in SEA Games snub

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Philippines' top karateka bares alleged politicking in SEA Games snub
James De Los Santos posted a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday narrating alleged politicking in the National Sports Association (NSA)
Facebook / James De Los Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Decorated Filipino Karateka James De Los Santos has spoken up about alleged politicking after being struck out of the Philippines' karate roster for the upcoming Southeast Games.

In a lengthy Facebook post published on Wednesday, De Los Santos lamented the way he was treated by National Sports Association (NSA) Karate Pilipinas Inc. (KPI).

In the post, De Los Santos claimed that he was "wrongfully" evaluated in a closed-door setting that resulted in his exlusion from the national team competing in the biennial meet.

The karateka pointed out a lot of peculiarities in the setup of the evaluation where, according to De Los Santos a decision had already been made even before he started his performance.

"In a national team meeting, I was informed that there will be an evaluation for the Men's Senior Individual Kata dated on November 7,2019, which was exactly one month before the karate event of the SEA Games," the post read.

"I got confused to why there was an evaluation so near the SEA Games," he added.

De Los Santos said that the judges who were present at the evaluation were "unqualified to judge international level Kata" and also questioned why the NSA president and vice president were not present in the evaluation room.

Additionally, he questioned the unusual way of picking his replacement.

"Let's talk about qualification The one replacing me in the upcoming SEA Games has achievements in the Junior Level. He is the son of the KPI Vice President," De Los Santos revealed.

"The proper way to unseat a National Team member is to defeat him/her in the Philippine National Games. This kata player that they are replacing me with had the opportunity to compete with me in front of World Karate Federation referees at the last PNG Senior level in 2018 and he chose not to," he added.

De Los Santos is a six-time consecutive National Games senior gold medalist.

Even before the SEA Games lineup snub, De Los Santos narrated different struggles he had experienced through the years, including being left out of international training camps and having to churn out his own resources for self-training.

"There was no support from this new Karate NSA," the post read.

"I was self-training for these five high-level Senior tournaments; I had no proper coaching," De Los Santos added.

He had even brought himself to Japan for a 50-day training camp in preparations for SEA Games only to be struck out of the lineup while also being reprimanded by his coaches once he returned to the Philippines.

"During my stay in Japan, I learned many things that I never acquired during my previous years in the national team," De Los Santos wrote.

"When I returned to Manila, my coaches were trying to reverse the training and teachings that I learned in Japan. Every time I would try to share with them what I learned in Japan, they would shrug it off and correct more of what I learned," he added.

The karateka accused KPI of abandoning him and calling his evaluation a "sham".

"You abandoned me in Manila and did not put me in the lineup. Your orchestrated evaluation was a sham... I am just an athlete who has very high aspirations to achieve the best for my country and you robbed me of my right," he wrote.

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