The 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, have opened their arms to eSports, recognizing it as a full-fledged medal event.
This groundbreaking decision comes three months after the inaugural Olympic eSports Series and solidifies the status of eSports as a legitimate and formidable force in the world of sports.
As seven game titles prepare to take the stage, the community explores the significance of this move, the key players to watch, and how fans worldwide can tune in to witness this historic moment.
As esports prepare to take center stage at the upcoming #AsianGames, #Hangzhou’s state-of-the-art esports center is ready to showcase the future of competitive gaming, promising a thrilling and immersive experience for both players and spectators.
Covering a floor space of… pic.twitter.com/C1fgW3GbqW
— Hi,GBA (@thisisGBA) September 19, 2023
A game-changing milestone
According to experts in the gaming sector, eSports’ journey to becoming an official medal event at the Asian Games has been remarkable. Per Olympics.com, the Olympic Council of Asia took the decisive step in 2017, granting eSports full medal status.
This recognition followed eSports’ appearance as demonstration events at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. eSports made its mark at the Asian Indoor Games from 2007 to 2013 as a demonstration event in 2017.
Additionally, the 2022 Commonwealth eSports Championships showcased its prowess in parallel with the Commonwealth Games. This rich history paved the way for eSports to become one of the most anticipated and sought-after events at the Asian Games.
Star players and rising stars
One of the most exciting aspects of eSports is the talent on display. In the League of Legends event, South Korea’s T1 eSports team boasts the presence of the legendary Lee “Faker” Sanghyeok. Faker is among 16 South Korean eSports players aiming to clinch gold, which would exempt them from South Korea’s compulsory military service.
In the Street Fighter V tournament, Thailand’s Thum “MindRPG” Homchuen, the Street Fighter VI exhibition tournament winner at the Olympic eSports Series in Singapore, is set to dazzle the audience.
As the competition unfolds, eSports enthusiasts will witness new stars emerge and established champions’ continued brilliance.
League of Legends off to Hangzhou
India is sending a star-studded League of Legends team to compete in Hangzhou, led by captain Akshaj Shenoy. This team, the top seed from Central and South Asia, earned their spot through dedication and hard work, triumphing in the National eSports Championships (NESC) finals.
The eSports Federation of India (ESFI) has reportedly supported the team’s journey, which has partnered with FITGMR Inc. to provide top-quality coaching and performance training.
— News18 Sports (@News18Sports) September 22, 2023
The League of Legends competition features 19 teams, all vying for a historic medal at the tournament. Matches leading up to the final will be played in the Best of 3 format, with the gold and bronze medal matches extending to the Best of 5 format.
According to their skipper, India’s League of Legends team, filled with talent and determination, aims to make their nation proud on this grand international stage.
South Korea’s ambitions
South Korea, a traditional powerhouse in eSports, is set to send its largest-ever Asian Games athlete delegation to Hangzhou in 2023, comprising 867 athletes.
This reflects South Korea’s commitment to maintaining its dominant position in eSports. With a target of at least 45 gold medals, the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee aims for a top-three finish in the medal table.
South Korea’s athletes are eager to tackle the challenges ahead, and the nation is determined to shine on the international eSports stage once again.
Double Olympic team fencing champion Gu Bon-gil and 2018 Asian Games gold medalist Kim Seo-yeong have been honored as South Korea’s flagbearers for the Opening Ceremony. Gu’s role in continental and Olympic events reflects his exceptional achievements and commitment to representing his country.