Filipino online karate sensation James de los Santos bagged two gold medals to bring his collection to 15 which solidified his bid for the No. 1 spot in the world rankings as results were posted late Sunday.
De los Santos, the 30-year-old former national team member, ruled the 1st Euro Grand Prix E-Tournament 2020 and the 2nd e-Karate Games 2020 with contrasting wins in the final.
He scored a close 24.6-24.3 victory opposite Silvio Cerone-Biagioni of South Africa in the Euro Grand Prix, and came through with a 24.3-23.2 triumph on Murilo Alves of Brazil in the e-Karate Games.
“It’s amazing how I’ve come so far winning my 14th and 15th gold medals,” De los Santos said in a message to Manila Bulletin.
“I’ve really noticed that my performance keeps on improving – and I can say the same for Fatima and Julia. It makes me a lot happier seeing them win as well,” added De los Santos, referring to Julia Marcos and Fatima Hamsain who also competed during the weekend.
Hamsain captured her second gold medal in the Under-16 division with a win opposite Giselle Janse Van Rensburg of Denmark in the e-Karate Games 2020, while Marcos settled with a silver medal in the female Under-21 category in the Euro Grand Prix E-Tournament.
In the Euro Grand Prix, De los Santos defeated Kevin Petry of Luxembourg 24-22.6 in the quarterfinal stage and Domont Matias Moreno of Switzerland 24.4-23.6 in the semifinal round.
In the e-Karate Games, De los Santos and Alves were the only entries in the Shotokan category of the male senior’s which led to an automatic final showdown between the two athletes.
The latest addition of two gold medals of world No. 2 De los Santos pushed him closer to the No. 1 spot of the world ranking, currently occupied by Eduardo Garcia of Portugal.
“The world No. 1… it’s not yet official until the points are added,” he said.
Masa Saito, the Japanese coach of De los Santos, was all praises for De los Santos, saying: “I am more than happy, we started from scratch and we have come so far. We never gave up. James is the best hardworking and enthusiastic karateka I know.”
“I wish I could be there physically to celebrate our victory. I wish I could be there to celebrate our win.”
Early this month, De los Santos won the Okinawa E-Tournament World Series and the Venice Cup 2020.
Last month, he ruled the Tokaido Maribor Open eTournament, the 4th SportData eTournament World Series, the Hatamoto Kai Mitad Del Mundo E-Tournament, E-Champions Trophy World Series, Miyamoto Musashi Five Rings and the 2nd Dutch Open E-Tournament.
He also won the e-Karate Games 2020 and the Athletes E-Tournament last August, the Balkan Open eTournament in July, the Korokotta Cup last June and the Palestine International Karate Cup last April.