James de los Santos celebrated his rise to the top of the rankings with a 16th gold medal victory.
In reaching a new milestone in his online career, the 30-year-old De los Santos took home the individual male senior honors in the Golden League E-Kata tournament on Thursday.
Using the difficult Unsu form again, De los Santos outperformed world no. 3 Silvio Cerone-Biagioni of South Africa, 25.7-23.9 in the finals.
He then thanked Japanese coach Masa Saito for his rise.
“When I hit the no. 2 spot back in August 6, I was behind by nearly 3000 points to no.1. I thought to myself, “Wow that’s a big gap. How am I ever going to reach that?” I was discouraged at first, but my kata coach, Masa Saito, reminded me to take it one tournament at a time,” De los Santos wrote in his Facebook message to wellwishers.
The multi-titled Cebuano turned back Murillo Alves of Brazil in the semifinals, 25.1-23.4, and moved ahead of Garcia with 8950 points.
News of his rise to no. 1 came before he submitted his video presentation of his finals meet with Biagioni.
“It’s a really great feeling and weird in a good way. Yesterday, as I was competing in this tournament, SportData officially confirmed at the same time that I am the new world no. 1. I was ecstatic about it, and it motivated me even more to win this tournament,” said De los Santos.
Garcia, who slipped to second place with 8575 points, has been inactive for many months in the individual male seniors’ category after deciding to take his act to the individual male under-21 level.
In his last campaign, De los Santos captured first-place honors in the first leg of the Euro Grand Prix and the E-Karate Games 2020, where he collected 15 straight gold medals.
He was not alone, as two female competitors Fatima A-Isha Lim Hamsain and Julie Marcos, who are schoolmates at Sen. Renato Companero Cayetano Memorial in Taguig City, were with him in the meet.
A-Isha Lim Hamsain snared a gold medal with a 23.2-22.9 triumph over Giselle Van Rensburg of Denmark in the Shotokan under-16 female action, while Marcos got the silver medal after bowing to Keira Sanfft of Australia, 23.4-23.6. Peter Atencio