THE Philippines’ OJ delos Santos finally achieved his ultimate goal of being the top-ranked karateka in world virtual kata.
“After 7 months of competing in so many tournaments on a weekly basis, the hard work has paid off. It is now official. I am the No. 1 in the eKata World Ranking,” Delos Santos posted on his Facebook account Thursday night.
Delos Santos overtook Portugal’s Eduardo Garcia with 8,950 points after winning the 1st Euro Grand Prix eTournament and the E-Karate Games 2020 #2 golds, respectively, last Sunday.
Garcia fell to second place with 8,575 points.
In just two months, the 30-year-old Delos Santos was able to overhaul a 2,725-point deficit since he clinched the world No. 2 ranking last Aug. 6.
During that time, Garcia was way ahead with 5,995 points, and Delos Santos made a run in weekly online world kata tournaments.
“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,” said Delos Santos.
The hardest part has began for the Cebuano, as Delos Santos is determined to keep the top spot until the end of this challenging year.
“However, the journey isn’t over. My new goal is to maintain the No. 1 spot throughout the year. This is a much bigger challenge, as there will be other eKata players who want the No. 1 spot as well. But this will keep me grinding and motivated,” said Delos Santos.
The country’s top kata athlete, Delos Santos earned his world ranking after joining virtual kata tournaments, which kicked off in March when the COVID-19 outbreak began.
With the online virtual kata tournaments, the karatekas send their videos online, which will be judged by referees.