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‘OJ’ can return but…

Richard Lim
Lim with a young karate student.

THE door to the Philippine national team remains wide open for multi-awarded karate champion James de los Santos and all the other karatekas who want to represent the country.

No less than Karate Pilipinas Sports Federation, Inc. (KPSFI) president Richard Lim extended his invitation to De los Santos and all other aspiring karate practitioners to join the tryouts again.

He (De los Santos) is always welcome to join the national team again. He just have to go to the tryouts and selection. But that’s pretty much easy for him because he’s been there already,” said Lim during the 19th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Nov. 5.

Lim said the local karate community would benefit a lot in having De los Santos and all the other karatekas who can bring honors to the country.

In the KPSFI, we need people in the pool, we need a bigger selection of talents. They will be an asset to our karate community,” explained Lim during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

Lim claimed he is also very proud of the achievements of De los Santos, who is now the world No. 1 in e-kata competitions.

I’m really very proud of what he has achieved. It may not be a world-ranking event in the WKF, but as long as he is winning and representing the country, we’re fine. That’s all that matters,” said Lim, who attended the weekly session along with California-based Fil-Am champion Joane Orbon.

Lim claimed that online competitions are a lot different than actual events in karate.

It’s a lot different. First, it’s not taken live, but on video. Secondly, it’s mainly club-based tournaments and not national championships,” he explained.

“But I am also encouraging them to try these online competitions. especially while we are still in a pandemic. Its a good opportunity for everybody to join and show their talents in the form of kata. It’s also a good experience for our karatekas,” added Lim.

Winning there is also very prestigious. We’re proud because they are winning and representing our country.

Asked about the controversy that led to De los Santos’ fallout with the national team, Lim said it is not the decision of the KPSFI alone.

First and foremost, we did not remove him. That’s a fact.We had a selection tournament towards the end of January and he chose not to compete,” recalled Lim.

It was his choice not to join and I can’t do anything about it,” said Lim, adding De los Santos had even represented the country as a national team mainstay five times under his watch.

He must have felt he was left out of the national team in the SEA Games. But there was a face-off between him and Joco Vasquez and the scores went to the other guy.

Earlier, Lim thanked Orbon for her decision to switch federation last year and represent the country.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Joane again. She’s already in the Top 10 right now. She gave up her No. 6 ranking to be able to compete for the Philippines. She’s a good find for the team,” said Lim.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Ed Andaya
Sports Editor - People's Tonight