SEA Games karate medalist 'left out' in 2019 lineup

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — A karate bronze medalist from the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games said he has been excluded from the lineup for this year’s competition.

In a viral Facebook post on Thursday, karateka James de los Santos shared a lengthy account of events that led up to the evaluation on November 7 for the lineup. He said the evaluation was conducted by supposed “unqualified” judges who told him his performance was not up to par with their standards.

De los Santos said five of the judges were from the current karate national sports association, Karate Pilipinas, Inc. (KPI), whom he alleged did not provide him coaching and training support for the past year and a half.

“The result of the evaluation: I was not included in the sea games lineup,” De los Santos said.

He added that he had to fund his own training in Japan back in August. He was supposed to join an international training camp with other players to the country but was “left out.”

“I got confused to why there was an evaluation so near the SEA Games. Then I thought again, that going back to the month of August when I was abandoned in Manila without proper coaching or plan, the NSA (KPI) already made up their mind on the SEA Games lineup,” he alleged.

However, De los Santos also admitted to having lost several tournaments prior to the evaluation. He joined the Asian Senior Championships (2018 in Jordan, 2019 in Uzbekistan), the 2018 Asian Games, the Karate1 Series A in Shanghai, and the 2019 Southeast Asian Championships in Thailand, in which he and his whole team only garnered two bronze medals. De los Santos also argued that he and his team did not receive support from KPI during these events as well.

“From what I know in any sport, if the team is performing poorly, the fault starts at the top. Don’t blame the athletes. blame the leadership,” he said.

With these developments, De los Santos claimed the evaluation was “orchestrated” to have him lose his 2019 SEA Games bid.

“I am just an athlete who has very high aspirations to achieve the best for my country and you robbed me of my right,” he said, addressing KPI President Richard Lim.

CNN Philippines has requested for comment from Lim but he has yet to respond.