Saturday, 02 Dec, 2023


China win first esports gold medal at Asian Games

Sports Desk |
Update: 2023-09-27 11:48:20
China win first esports gold medal at Asian Games [photo collected]

China made history in the Asian Games by winning the first gold medal in esports at a multi-sport event.

Esports is making its debut as an official medal event in Hangzhou after being a demonstration sport in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

It marks the latest step for esports with regards to potential inclusion at an Olympic Games.

The hosts beat Malaysia in the game Arena of Valor, with Thailand clinching bronze by defeating Vietnam.

Esports refers to a range of competitive video games that are played by professionals across the world.

Often hosted in stadiums, events are televised and streamed online, drawing big viewership.

The esports market is estimated to grow to be worth $1.9bn by 2025.

Esports has managed to attract some of the biggest audiences of the Asian Games, being the only event with an initial lottery system for ticket purchase with some of the most popular esports stars such as South Korea's Lee 'Faker' Sang-hyeok in action.

There are seven gold medals to be won across seven game titles at the Hangzhou Esports Centre.

The inclusion of esports in the Asian Games is an indicator of its growing popularity as it eyes wider recognition among the sporting community. It was included as a pilot event in the 2022 Commonwealth Games but with separate branding, medals and organisation.

Eager to cater to new fans and diversify viewership, the International Olympic Committee, which organises the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, staged the Olympic Esports series in March, culminating in an inaugural Olympic Esports week in Singapore in June.

The event did not feature the most popular esports games, but instead included archery, baseball, chess, cycling, motorsport, dance sport, sailing, taekwondo and tennis.

"Not everything is perfect, we know that, but the overall feeling is positive," Vincent Pereira, IOC's head of virtual sport, said to L'Equipe following the event.

IOC president Thomas Bach has previously spoken of the need to avoid "killer games or where you have promotion of violence or any kind of discrimination as a content".

"We have to draw a very clear red line in this respect," he said.

In September, the IOC launched a new esports Commission, which it said marked the "latest step in supporting the development of virtual sport within the Olympic movement".

"The IOC believes that virtual sports have the potential to complement and enhance the traditional Olympic sports, and that they can provide new opportunities for athletes and fans to participate in the Olympic movement," Bach added.

At the Asian Games in Hangzhou, the esports games included are: Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, DOTA 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, League of Legends, Peace Elite Asian Games Version, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition and EA Sports FC Online. Some 476 people are taking part.

Esports has been included as a medal sport for the Asian Games to be held in Nagoya, Japan, in 2026.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1147 HRS, SEP 27, 2023 

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