By WAYLON GALVEZ
As full contact competition remains uncertain for karate next year due to the COVD-19 pandemic, world e-kata No. 1 player James De los Santos said he is focusing on competing in online meets as he tries to collect more gold medals and honor for the country.
De los Santos has won a total of 36 gold medals from various online tournaments, including 35 from World Series meets sanctioned by the World Karate Federation (WKF) since April.
“We still don’t know when this COVID-19 pandemic will be over. But what I can say is I will still continue to train and compete. Karate is a never-ending process for me because it is a way of life,” said De los Santos.
“I’m very grateful that I was able to find the opportunity of competing virtually and making 2020 a great year for me.”
Last week, he won three tournaments to cap his 2020 campaign as he ruled the Katana Inter-Continental Super League Final, the E-Karate Grand Winner and the Golden League Karate eTournament Series 4.
Because of that, he now has 17,645 points but that is expected to increase once the points he earned from the Katana IC League will be added for the year-end final rankings.
The 30-year-old De los Santos moved up to the world ranking and finally claimed the top spot last October, relegating Eduardo Garcia of Portugal to second spot after nearly six months at No. 1 in the WKF e-kata.
The former national team member was even surprised with his vast achievements and the accolades he received.
“I never thought of becoming the world No. 1 in virtual kata, even if I did set a goal for it. I just focused on training and becoming better in the later competitions, and then it happened,” said De los Santos.
“Hard work, patience, dedication, and faith have always been the key to success in anything you do. It’s always hard in the beginning, but you really have to persevere through that.”