By WAYLON GALVEZ
World No. 1 James de los Santos has solidified his bid to retain the top ranking in the male senior’s e-kata category for 2020 as he capped his impressive performance this year with three gold medals the past two days.
The 30-year-old De los Santos ruled the fifth leg of the Katana IC League, the E-Karate Grand Winner, and the fourth leg of the Golden League Karate eTournament Series.
In the finals of the three tournaments, De los Santos defeated world No. 5 Nejc Sternisa of Slovenia in the Katana IC League 25.38-24-18, bested Chrisley Philippart of Belgium in the E-Karate meet 25.4-23.4, and edged world No. 6 Alfredo Bustamante of the US in the Golden League 25.3-24.1.
As a result, he has won the Grand Winner titles in the Katana Intercontinental League, which added to his similar Grand Winner championships in the eChampions Trophy and the Athlete’s eTournament.
“Three gold medals and three Grand Winner titles is my great exit for 2020… it’s truly a Merry Christmas,” De los Santos, a former member of the national karate team, said.
“To win three gold medals in my last three tournaments this year is really an amazing feeling. Not only that, I also bagged in another three Grand Winner titles. I can say that the World no. 1 spot is in the bag for me.
“This is indeed a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. What a way to exit the year 2020,” added De los Santos.
The three victories gave De los Santos a total gold medal haul of 36, and for the month of December, he went perfect 11-for-11, capturing 11 gold medals in 11 different tournaments.
De Los Santos currently has 13,745 points in the current ranking of the e-tournament for male senior’s category of the World Karate Federation (WKF), a position he hopes to retain as the federation tallies points of athletes for the final ranking.
At second is Eduardo Garcia with 8,890 points, the athlete from Portugal who was on top from April to early October until De los Santos took over and has remained as the No. 1 ranked in e-kata – something the De los Santos hopes to maintain until the end of the year.
At third is Domont with 6,990, followed by Cerone-Biogioni (6,225) and Nejc Sternisa of Slovenia (4,895), Bustamante (4,495), Hugh Connolly of Ireland (3,405), Murilo Alves of Brazil (3,385), Angel Sanchez of Bolivia (3,075), and Leonardo Birra of Italy (2,960).