Top PH karateka ‘robbed’ of SEA Games spot after alleged politicking
MANILA, Philippines—A decorated Filipino karateka accused Karate Pilpinas Inc of politicking after he was allegedly “robbed” of a slot in the national team that would compete in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
James De Los Santos, a bronze medalist in the 2017 SEA Games, posted a lengthy Facebook note baring how the KPI wrongfully evaluated him while also saying he received little to no support between the Malaysian games and the upcoming biennial meet.
“In a national team meeting I was informed that there will be an evaluation for the Men’s Senior Individual Kata dated Nov. 7, 2019, which was exactly one month before the karate event of the SEA Games, I got confused to why there was an evaluation so near the SEA Games,” said De Los Santos, a practitioner of the Shotokan style.
“Then I thought again, that going back to the month of August when I was abandoned in Manila without proper coaching or plan. The KPI already made up their mind on the SEA Games lineup… As I’ve heard, the deadline for the NSA to submit the SEA Games lineup was October 2019.”
Delos Santos, who has won gold medals in six straight Philippine National Games, also said the those the closed-door evaluation were Kumite judges who are unqualified to judge Kata karatekas.
“When I saw who the five judges were, it was already a dead giveaway. They were Kumite judges who were unqualified to judge international level Kata,” said Delos Santos.
Delos Santos said his replacement in the national team is an accomplished karateka in the junior level and is the son of the KPI vice president.
“The proper way to unseat a National Team member is to defeat him/her in the Philippine National Games. This Kata player that they are replacing me with had the opportunity to compete with me in front World Karate Federation referees at the PNG Senior Level in 2018 and he chose not to, he competed in the Junior Level,” he said.
“Mr. NSA President, I was robbed of being included in the SEA Games line up. You even tried to stop me from seeking my own training outside before; the training that you didn’t provide me. For 1 1/2 years, I trained without proper kata coaching.
Your orchestrated evaluation was a sham. I am just an athlete who has very high aspirations to achieve the best for my country and you robbed me of my right.”
Delos Santos also accused the KPI of not providing monetary support to the karatekas who want to train abroad.
He said athletes like Junna Tsukii have also relied on sponsorships just to attend events like Karate1 Premier League and Karate1 Series A, both are Olympic Qualifying tournaments.
He also had to get help from his sponsors to train in Japan for 50 days after he was left out of the Kata team that went to the East Asian nation for a training camp.
“There was no support from this new Karate NSA known as Karate Pilipinas Inc.”
In a statement on its Facebook account, KPI issued a statement following Delos Santos’ complaint.
“In KPI, the selection process was independently performed by the coaches as they have first hand knowledge on the performances of each and every athlete in the national pool of karatekas. They monitor also the mindset and attitude of the athletes to see how they approach their discipline.”
“Emotions aside, the coaches have spoken and made their selection based on the criteria they adopted, and not based on personalities who may feel popular or important.”
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