The national sports association for karate responded to a circulating Facebook post criticizing their selection process for the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Karate Pilipinas Sports Federation, Inc. made the statement after decorated karateka James de los Santos was booted out of the team just mere days heading into the competition.
De los Santos is no slouch himself, so it came as a surprise to him on how he was allegedly "robbed" of a spot from the national team.
He was a bronze medalist in the men's individual kata event of the 2017 SEA Games, and also a multiple-time Philippine National Games gold medalist.
He also accused KPI of not providing support to him by not giving him monetary assistance for training or even competent coaches.
"Mr. NSA President [Richard Lim], I was robbed of being included in the SEA Games line up. You even tried to stop me from seeking my own training outside before; the training that you didn't provide me. For 1 1/2 years, I trained without proper kata coaching. Yes, you sent me to high-level tournaments, but I was NOT TRAINED PROPERLY for them. That is why the WHOLE TEAM WAS NOT WINNING in these tournaments," de los Santos said in a lengthy Facebook status posted last November 20.
Meanwhile, KPI fired back against de los Santos' rant, and maintained that it was their coaches' decision to not include him in the roster.
"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 federation said in a statement posted on their Facebook page Thursday evening.
The NSA also justified their selection process by saying the federation's coaches have also looked beyond skill.
"In KPI, the selection process was independently performed by the coaches as they have firsthand knowledge on the performances of each and every athlete in the national pool of karatekas. They monitor also the mindset and attitude of the athletes to see how they approach their discipline. These coaches are beyond reproach and qualified in their respective fields. In fact, they have been accredited by no other than the Philippine Sports Commission. More on the point, these coaches are likewise accredited by the Asian and World Federations of Karate."
Nevertheless, the federation requests everyone to respect their decision, and will abide by it.
"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. This decision deserves respect. And the KPI will not interfere nor pressure the coaches in the selection process to accommodate athletes who did not make the cut."