eSports one step closer to the Olympics

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From the left, Eddy Lim (President of Indonesia Esport Association), Santhi Lothong (executive board member of AESF), Kenneth Fok (President of AESF), Lokesh Suji (Vice President of AESF), and Yeung Chuen Sing (President of Hong Kong Esport Association). (photo: IO/Raihan)

IO, Jakarta – President of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) Kenneth Fok expressed his excitement at the presence of eSports in Asian Games 2018, even if only as an exhibi­tion sport. According to the AESF presi­dent, the inclusion helps push the like­lihood of eSports joining the Olympics.

Asian Games 2018 is the first mul­tievent competition to have an eSports exhibition tournament. The exhibition will include six categories of games: Arena of Valor, Clash Royale, Hearth­stone, League of Legends, Pro Evolu­tion Soccer, and StarCraft II.

“Having a tournament in Asian Games 2018 is a good first step. Hope­fully with this it will be easier to over­come future challenges,” said Kenneth Fok in a press conference at Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) on Wednes­day (29/8/2018).

Kenneth said there is a lot to be done before eSports can officially be a part of the Olympics. “This is a hard job for us but we are very ambitious. When can this be realized? I do not know and am not ready predict,” said Kenneth.

In July 2019, The International Olympics Committee will hold a meet­ing to discuss eSports in its head of­fice in Lausanne, Swiss. Meanwhile, AESF will try and lobby so eSports will be included in the Philippines 2019 SEA Games. If realized, SEA Games will be the first multievent tournament that will include eSports as an official category, meaning wins will count towards the official medal count.

Kenneth also stated that the gam­ing community and industry which are continually developing were keeping watch on problems such as addiction, which they believe could be solved by proper education and regulation as competitive gaming becomes more mainstream. “This is a very stressful environment. We must protect athletes and their well-being,”

eSports made its competitive de­but this week as an exhibition sport in Asian Games 2018 attracting more than 11,000 athletes in over 40 com­petitions. The arena has been renovat­ed for the eSports debut and has been well received by the public making the organizers optimistic about bring­ing eSports to the next Olympics and Asian Games 2022. (Raihan)