Karateka seizes world No. 1 spot

James de los Santos continues his hot streak as he claimed the top spot in the world virtual kata ranking.

After seven months of non-stop competition, the Cebuano karateka finally overtook his rival Eduardo Garcia of Portugal with 8,950 points after claiming his 14th and 15th gold medals in the 1st Euro Grand Prix E-Tournament and E-Karate Games 2020, respectively, over the weekend.

A bronze medalist in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2017, De los Santos kicked off his campaign last April as part of his training due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Now, he is on top of the world and vowed to keep on competing to retain his ranking.

“It means a lot to me. I’m feeling ecstatic that I’m now the new world No. 1. I can’t let go of karate so I continued this for the love of my sport and the country,” said De los Santos, who trailed by 2,725 points before emerging as the world’s best virtual karateka.

“When the whole world fell into this pandemic, I didn’t know what else to do to give myself more reason to train. That’s why I joined these virtual karate tournaments.”

The virtual kata tourneys were launched in March of this year in which athletes from all over the world would send their videos for the referees to judge.

De los Santos, a member of the national squad since 2008, said he intends to keep the top spot to bring honor to the country, especially in this time of pandemic.

“I found this opportunity to compete in virtual tournaments and saw that there was a world ranking system developed for it,” the two-time SEA Games gold medalist said.

“My kata coach and I talked, and he told me our new goal: To maintain the No.1 spot throughout the year. There will be other players out there who would be vying for that spot, but will keep grinding.”

Date: October 17, 2020 | Newspaper: Tribune | Source: https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2020/10/17/karateka-seizes-world-no-1-spot/?fbclid=IwAR0iB2DtG0ip_UTIikp-zxl58pfB8fObDzmg4qRUwm2AMhC9RxCTTWJL7QY