The Karate Pilipinas Sports Federation Inc. (KPI) defended their process of selecting karatekas that will represent the country in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
KPI explained that their coaches independently performed the selection process ‘as they have first hand knowledge on the performances of each and every athlete in the national pool of karatekas’.
The nationals’ sports association for karate added that the coaches also monitor the mindset and attitude of the athletes to see how they approach their discipline.
“In any international competition, any participating country must engage in a stringent selection process to determine who from a pool of national athletes will represent it,” KPI said in a statement.
“Part of what comprises this arduous task in the selection is technical performance, athletic performance and attitude or mindset. Like any other selection process, it is always unfortunate that some athletes do not make the cut,” the organization added.
The KPI also stressed that the coaches have been accredited by the Philippine Sports Commission, the Asian Karate Federation, and the World Karate Federation.
“These coaches are beyond reproach and qualified in their respective fields,” the NSA said.
The KPI called for the public to respect the decision of the coaches, and said that the organization ‘will not interfere nor pressure the coaches in the selection process to accommodate athletes who did not make the cut’.
“Emotions aside, the coaches have spoken and made their selection based on the criteria they adopted, and not based on personalities who may feel popular or important,” the KPI said.
“And based on the outcome of the selection process, these athletes deserve to be given the chance to represent the country in the coming SEA Games and, most importantly, our support,” the organization added.
KPI issued the statement after two-time SEA Games medalist James De Los Santos claimed that he got ‘robbed’ of a slot in the SEA Games line-up.
In a Facebook post, De Los Santos questioned the closed door evaluation conducted by the KPI on Nov. 7 that was attended only by national coaches, kata players, and five judges of the NSA.
“They were Kumite judges who were unqualified to judge international level kata,” the karateka said.
“I also noticed that the NSA President and Vice President were not there in the evaluation room. Why was that? Why was the evaluation exclusive only to the coaches and referees to see,” he further asked.
De Los Santos also believes that KPI had already made up their mind on the SEA Games line-up even before the evaluation since the organization did not include him in an international training camp in Turkey and Japan in August.
“You abandoned me in Manila and did not put me in the line-up, Your orchestrated evaluation was a sham,” the karateka stressed.
De Los Santos also said that he was replaced by the son of KPI vice president Alejandro Enrico Vasquez who have previously competed and won achievements in Junior division tournaments.
“You cannot compare Junior to Senior. The level of competition is very different,” said De Los Santos who also mentioned that the SEA Games is a senior level tournament.
He added that the proper way to unseat a member of the national team ‘is to defeat him/her in the Philippine National Games’.