World No. 1 James De los Santos earned the respect of his opponents and fellow athletes following his ascension to the top of the e-kata ranking last week in the World Karate Federation.
Felix Sternisa of Slovenia, father of world No. 5 Nejc Sternisa, was the first to offer his congratulatory message to the 30-year-old De los Santos with a comment on the former’s Facebook post.
“James congratulations you are a great competitor,” said the elder Sternisa in his post.
“My son Nejc respects you and he is also in the 5th place with you (in the world ranking), even though he is 17 years old. Congratulations again and hope to see you someday.”
De los Santos responded with his own message of words of encouragement to Sternisa.
“Thank you sir Felix,” said De los Santos, a former member of the national team. “Nejc is still very young, he has many years ahead of him. He too will become a great athlete one day.”
World No. 4 Matias Moreno Domont of Switzerland also commented with a simple yet heartfelt post of “Congratulations bro” on the Facebook ‘My Day’ of De los Santos last Friday.
De los Santos said that former national team teammates also sent him messages, while others – like Filipino-Japanese Junna Tsukii – reacted with ‘emoticons’ on his Facebook and Instagram posts.
Last week, De los Santos moved to No. 1 in the world ranking following a pair of wins. He now has 8950 points, ahead of now No. 2 Eduardo Garcia of Portugal with 8575 points.
Silvio Cerone-Biagioni of South Africa remains at third spot with 4585 points, followed by Domont with 4455 points at fourth place and Sternisa with 3980 points at fifth spot.
Fresh from a victory against Cerone-Biagioni in the Golden League Karate e-Tournament Series 2 for his 16th gold medal, De los Santos is set to compete in the Katana Intercontinental League.
De los Santos said that his goal now is to remain at No. 1 for the rest of the year.
“Here’s another reason why I will continue maintaining No. 1,” he said. “It’s unconfirmed, but I heard there will be an award at year-end for the grand winner of the e-kata World Rankings.”