De los Santos on verge of accomplishing goal

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - October 14, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu’s pride James de los Santos rolled on the verge of achieving his goal to be No.1 in the e-kata world rankings after adding two more gilts in his spectacular gold-medal streak.

The 30-year-old De los Santos outclassed South Africa’s Silvio Cerone-Biagioni, 24.6-24.3, to reign supreme in the 1st Euro Grand Prix E-Tournament, and then prevailed over Brazil’s Murilo Alves, 24.3-23.3, to top the e-Karate Games 2020.

It was his 13th consecutive gold medal since he dominated the Balkan Open last August 3 and 15th overall in 19 tournaments he joined during the past eight months.

With his most recent success, the two-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games bronze medalist is expected to surpass Portugal’s Eduardo Garcia as world No. 1 in the men’s individual kata division anytime now.

In the latest rakings, De los Santos trails Garcia by just 465 points, 8110-8575, but once the points he earned from the Okinawa World Series and the Euro Grand Prix will be added, the outstanding alumnus of PAREF-Springdale will surely move past the Portuguese as the highest ranked online karateka in the world.

“The hard work is paying off. I’m technically already no. 1 but the points still have to be added,” said De los Santos, who fights out of the International Shotokan Karate Federation of the Philippines.

For his string of triumphs, De los Santos’ Japanese coach Masa Saito couldn’t be any prouder.

“I’m more than happy. We started from scratch and we’ve come so far. We never gave up. James is the best hardworking and enthusiastic karateka I know. I wish I could be there physically to celebrate our victories,” said Sato.

Again, De los Santos was extra happy because his students Fatima A-isha Hamsain and Julia Marcos continued to perform remarkably under his guidance.

Hamsain edged Denmark’s Giselle Jansen Van Rensburg to seize gold medal in the female U16 shotokan individual kata, while Marcos bagged silver  in the U21 age group.

“What made me happier was seeing my two MKKPI students win medals in their respective categories. I’m proud to see that they have improved after joining these virtual tournaments,” said De los Santos.

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