e-kata star De los Santos starts year ‘hungry’
Even with 36 e-kata gold medals collected over the past 10 months, Filipino karate star James de los Santos said he’s still “hungry for more.”
The 30-year-old national karateka, already the world No. 1 in his division as his sport morphed into virtual competitions, lined up several important tournaments at the start of the year.
That includes the prestigious SportData e-Tournaments World Series 1 slated this month where he is expected to face tougher opponents than before.
“I’m continuing to train in order to prepare myself,” said De los Santos, a two-time Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist.
De los Santos finished 2020 with 17,645 points in men’s e-kata seniors category, as he has a hefty lead over Switzerland’s Matias Moreno Domont (8,970) and erstwhile top guy Eduardo Garcia of Portugal (8,890).
“Last year made me realize that there are opportunities everywhere, no matter the situation,” De los Santos said. “You just have to be really hungry to find it.”
The previous year indeed opened new doors aside from e-kata. His strong online presence also scored him hosting gigs, interviews and television guesting.
“Aside from tournaments, I’m also streaming in an app called Kumu on the side, mostly singing. This is another field that I’ve discovered throughout the pandemic. You can follow me there: @james.de.los.santos,” he added.
But karate will remain his priority as he starts the year with the Adidas USA Open on Jan. 13. De los Santos said it is a perfect opportunity to shake off the rust from the holiday break.
After that comes the SportData e-Tournament, which unveils its new season on Jan. 29. Last year, he bagged two of the five editions of the SportData series.
Rounding out the top 10 in the world are Silvio Cerone-Biagioni of South Africa (7,660), Alfredo Bustamante of the United States (6,865), Nejc Sternisa of Slovenia (5,060), Murillo Alves of Brazil (3,520), Hugh Connoly of Ireland (3,405), Abdelatif Choukri of Morocco (3,205) and Angel Sanchez of Bolivia (3,075).
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