PH karateka defends kata title

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??Orencio James De Los Santos. WWW.SPORTDATA.ORG

??Orencio James De Los Santos. WWW.SPORTDATA.ORG

Filipino karateka Orencio James De Los Santos successfully defended his crown in the 3rd International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) World Shoto Cup on Sunday in Cape Town, South Africa.

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The lone Philippine bet in the competition, De Los Santos kept his Male Individual Kata title after trouncing 66 competitors from all over the world including powerhouse Australia.

“All I told myself before the game was to just do my best. It was a tough competition, but all the hard work and dedication paid off. Right now, I’m feeling happy that I was able to win the world title back to back,” De Los Santos told The Manila Times on Monday.

De Los Santos won his first title in the second edition of the meet held in his hometown Cebu in 2012.

Shoto Cup is held every four years and is hosted by the ISKF, the world governing body for shotokan karate.

De Los Santos said his best form during the tournament was Unsu, which contains many intricate hand techniques such the ippon-nukite or one finger strike in the opening sequence.

De Los Santos scored 42.5 points to win the gold while Australians Adam Pearce and Ben Skennar finished second and third with 41.8 and 41.7 points, respectively.

“We are so happy in the Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) that James reached his goal, to win and defend his title,” said PKF Secretary General Raymund Lee Reyes.

De Los Santos will be busy preparing for big competitions in the coming years including the 2018 Asian Games and the 2020 Olympics.

“The next few years will be very busy for me. Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia is just around the corner plus there will be Asian Games in 2018. I will be working for the Olympics as well in 2020, and also aim for three-peat in the next world Shoto Cup in the same year,” De Los Santos concluded.

Karate is among the five sports that were recently added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as approved by the International Olympic Committee. The other sports are baseball/softball, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

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