Karateka OJ Delos Santos strikes gold in Athletesâ E-Tournament
James De Los Santos
Facebook/James De Los Santos
Karateka OJ Delos Santos strikes gold in Athletes’ E-Tournament
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - August 12, 2020 - 12:49pm

MANILA, Philippines – Third time’s a charm for Filipino karateka OJ Delos Santos.

Beaten twice in their first two encounters, World No. 2 Delos Santos came roaring back with a vengeance as he slew World No. 1 Eduardo Garcia of Portugal by the slimmest of margins to rule the Athletes’ E-Tournament Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Delos Santos won by the skin of his teeth in edging a fancied Garcia, 25-24.9, to capture the former’s fourth gold medal while essaying his first win against the latter following defeats in the SportsData E-Tournament World Series in May and Adidas Karate World Open Series #2 early this month.

“This is the third time I’ve faced him (Garcia) in a final showdown,” said Delos Santos. “This victory means a lot. This will motivate me to train harder for the upcoming virtual tournaments."

The two-time Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist said the key to victory was changing his kata style to Unsu from Sansai as adviced by his Japanese coach Masa Saito.

“My first two times were unlucky. I have to admit, he’s a tough player to beat, but when the third time came around, my coach from Japan and parents suggested I use my favorite kata Unsu and it finally paid off,” said Delos Santos.

The first time they met, Delos Santos lost in a close showdown, 24.2-24.5.

The second time, the Filipino was initially declared winner before organizers told him there was a scoring glitch and handed the trophy to Garcia instead.

On the third one, Delos Santos had the last laugh.

It was also redemption of sorts for delos Santos as he was bumped off the national team that saw action in the Southeast Asian Games in December last year.

Delos Santos said his next step is to catch Garcia at No. 1 but he would need more victories like this one to accomplish the feat.

“Hopefully, I could cling to that hope of catching up on him No. 1,” he said.

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