De los Santos bags 23rd gold

Published May 30, 2021, 9:34 PM

by Waylon Galvez

James De los Santos flashes the one sign after winning a tournament. (Photo from James De los Santos Facebook)

Karate online world No. 1 James de los Santos once again proved his dominance against American Alfredo Bustamante as he scored a 24.4-23.9 win in the final of the Adidas USA Karate Open.

De los Santos earned a bye in the quarterfinal round, where he downed Mexico’s Jonathan Giron 22.4-22.8 in the semifinal.

This marked the first time that de los Santos won the event since he started competing in online tournaments last year, where he won a total of 36 gold medals on his way to the top of the world ranking.

The latest win of the 30-year-old de los Santos improved his gold medal collection this year to 23, and 59 overall since 2020 – the year he joined in e-kata meets as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all face-to-face tournaments.

With more tournaments in the calendar of online events, de los Santos is close to matching his record from last year, which may come sometime in July, the reason why his goal now is to win as many as possible this year.

“My goal is to surpass my record from last year, and that is winning a total of 36 (gold medals),” said de los Santos, a former national team member who won a pair of Southeast Asian Games bronze medals.

“I want to win as much as I can this year once I surpass this record.”

Prior to this event, de los Santos has ruled the Final Four eTournament of the Katana Intercontinental League, the leg 3 of the eKarate World Series, third edition of the Okinawa eTournament and the Athlete’s eTournament World Series 3.