Family, sponsor help Delos Santos become world standard
James delos Santos has pivoted from chasing the world No. 1 ranking to keeping it. That poses as a tougher challenge, especially when he has to do it by himself.
The 30-year-old global standard in the e-kata seniors male category has recently won his 16th gold medal, the Golden League Karate e-Tournament Series 2.
Since being cut from the national team—and losing his allowances in the process—Delos Santos has gotten support mainly from his parents and a lone sponsor in Kaffea, a rising coffee brand, for his personal and tournament expenses.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been doing this with my own efforts with help of family and a sponsor,” Delos Santos told the Inquirer. “But I have no complaints.”
He has been competing on a weekly basis on e-tournaments. Registration fee ranges from 10 to 15 euros (about P575 to P863) for each meet. There are at least eight e-competitions being held every month.
There are no cash prizes in e-tournaments either, unless a tournament attracts full 32-man draw. And Delos Santos said that rarely happens. And his “gold medals” from these tournaments? They came in the form of certificates.
“But I look at them as virtual golds though,” Delos Santos said. “The First Euro Grand Prix [which I won] did promise to send medals through express shipping.”
Starting last March, when the coronavirus pandemic thrust competitions in front of video cameras, the 2017 Southeast Asian Games bronze winner has collected 9,355 points allowing him to surpass erstwhile No. 1 Eduardo Garcia of Portugal (8,575) and Silvio Cerone-Biagioni of South Africa (4,840). He beat Cerone-Biagioni for the Golden League title last week.
“The journey isn’t over,” Delos Santos said.