E-kata star still on his own as nonrecognition barricades PSC assistance
James de los Santos faced the camera on Wednesday, one different from what he has been using to record his gold medal performances in e-kata tournaments the past several months.
“It’s something I wasn’t used to, but then I started warming up after the first break,” said De los Santos, who appeared in a game segment on top-rating noontime show “Eat Bulaga.” “It was a great experience, though.”
From social media to mainstream TV, the 30-year-old world No. 1 in online kata is getting the attention he deserves.
Unfortunately, his exploits has gone unnoticed by Karate Pilipinas and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
PSC Chair William Ramirez has stated that the government agency recognizes De los Santos’ achievements—the former national team standout has already won 22 gold medals in online meets. But the agency can only give assistance to athletes endorsed by their national federation which, in De los Santos’ case, is Karate Pilipinas.
And that presents a prickly problem.
The two-time Southeast Asian Games bronze winner had a falling out with Karate Pilipinas after he tried to expose alleged irregularities in the association, prompting the federation to expel him from the team that competed in last year’s SEA Games.
“Neither have reached out to me,” said De los Santos, who supports his own campaign in e-tournaments that flourished when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports events.
In the meantime, De los Santos said he will continue competing and trying to outdo himself to hold on to the top spot even longer.
His TV guesting happened just a day after he won his 22nd gold medal, ruling the Athletes’ E-Tournament. A day before that, he bagged his 20th and 21st titles after dominating the Okinawa E-Tournament World Series and Nox Dojo Markham City E-Tournament.
In the Okinawa meet, his students also shone: Julia Ian Marcos copped two golds, Fatima A-Isha Lim Hamsain had two silvers, and Christina Colonia bagged one bronze.
“It makes me even prouder that my students from MKKPI (Maharlika Karatedo Kai of the Philippines International) came out with successful performances as well,” De los Santos said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.