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Pinoy karateka James de Los Santos ends 2020 at number 1

January 01, 2021 - Friday 3:01 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image Filipino karateka James de Los Santos. (File photo)

MANILA – Filipino karateka James de Los Santos formally secured the world number one rank in eKata following the release of the final ranking right on the final day of 2020.

De Los Santos amassed 17,645 points, ahead by a huge 8,675-point margin over world number two Matias Domont of Switzerland, who has 8,970.

Portugal's Eduardo Garcia, who was at the top before de Los Santos' surge, fell to number three with 8,890, although he managed to stay in the year-end podium despite the active events participation of South Africa's Silvio Cerone-Biagioni (fourth with 7,965), United States' Alfredo Bustamante (fifth with 6,865), and Slovenia's Nejc Sternisa (sixth with 5,060).

Out of 52 eKata events that took place this year, de Los Santos made the podium in 42 competitions, winning 36 gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.

He also captured the overall championship in six eKarate leagues, the Venice Cup, eChampions Trophy World Series, Athlete's eTournament, Katana Intercontinental League, Golden League eTournament, and eKarate Games.

"All this done in a span of nine months, competing almost everyday in every week," de Los Santos said upon announcing his feat on Facebook.

Capping the year, he was awarded the Male Fighter of the Year by The Hit List podcast, an uncommon achievement for a martial artist playing in a performance-based discipline like kata.

De Los Santos beat combat sports practitioners John Riel Casimero (boxing) and Rolando Dy and Joshua Pacio (mixed martial arts) for the award in a close voting race.

"2020, you were a great year to me. It really has been a blast," de Los Santos said about the year that has been despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, which postponed a lot of sporting events including offline karatedo tournaments.

Many karate event organizers turned into the online realm especially in kata just for the tournaments to continue.

Looking forward to 2021, de Los Santos hopes "for the world to return to normal soon," which could become plausible with the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines. Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

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