Former national team member James De los Santos guns for his sixth online gold after his walkover semifinal win over Scott Taylor of Canada in the E-Champions Trophy World Series Friday.
De los Santos, the world No. 2 ranked player in e-kata, won via default after the judges rejected Taylor’s video due to technicalities.
“I’m in the final again. I’ll be gunning for my sixth gold medal,” said the 30-year-old De los Santos, who won over Silvio Cerone-Biagioni of South Africa 24.9-24.3 in the quarterfinal round.
De los Santos will face either Hugh Connolly of Ireland or Switzerland’s Domont Matias Moreno in the final Saturday.
In the quarterfinal, Connolly edged Murilo Alves of Brazil 24.6-23.5 while Moreno also won by default versus American Alfredo Bustamante, whose video was likewise rejected by the judges.
The online karate sensation De los Santos is fresh from winning his fifth gold following his impressive 25.9-23.4 victory over Slovenia’s Nejc Sternisa in the final of the e-Karate Games 2020 last Thursday.
He said that it’s difficult to compete especially with online tournaments now on a weekly basis, but he is passionate about what he is doing and wants to give honor to the country.
“I’ve been a national athlete for a little more than a decade, so it’s nothing new to me,” said De los Santos. “I’ve developed a mentality to train hard and go beyond my limits. It’s not easy, but my love for karate is what pushes me forward.”
Masa Saito, De los Santos’ Japanese coach, said he is impressed with the progress made by his ward.
“I am happy that James is fighting for gold again. He is a very dedicated athlete and his performance gets better in every tournament. But as I said, as someone coming from a samurai country, we won’t celebrate until we win the gold or become the No. 1 player in the world,” he said.