THE World No. 1 E-Kata ranking is officially in the bag for Filipino karateka James de los Santos.
The former national team member De los Santos overtook Eduardo Garcia of Portugal in the recent E-Kata individual men’s seniors rankings after acquiring 8,950 points against the latter’s 8,575 points.
De los Santos virtually took the top spot after he won gold medals in the Okinawa E-Tournament World Series, 1st Euro Grand Prix E-Tournament 2020 and the 2nd E-Karate Games 2020.
The official rankings was released on Thursday night.
“It’s not over. I have to maintain the No. 1 spot throughout the year. That is the bigger challenge,” De los Santos told the Manila Times in an online interview.
The Cebuano karateka clawed his way to the top, with a 3,000 points difference between him and Garcia, by winning a total of 15 gold medals in various tournaments.
De los Santos’ kata coach Masa Saito said they proved that nothing is impossible when you worked hard for something you wanted.
“I’m really glad. The path so far isn’t always easy. But we never give up and we climbed up to the top. I am so happy that I’m sharing this moment with this amazing karateka in James,” said Saito, adding that he’s grateful for the support they got from family and friends.
“I’m feeling really ecstatic right now. After seven months of competing in virtual tournaments on a weekly basis, it’s really paid off. I’m very thankful to those who supported me all the way,” said De los Santos, a member of the International Shotokan Karate Federation.
Trailing de los Santos are Garcia, Silvio Cerone-Biagoni of South Africa (4,585), Matias Moreno Domont of Switzerland (4,455) and Nejc Sternisa of Slovenia (3,980).