Official roster for Hangzhou Asian Games esports events unveiled

2023-06-27 09:08:45Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A total of five coaches and 31 athletes are set to represent China at six e-sports events during the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, officials announced on Sunday night. Chinese e-sports insiders and die-hard fans told the Global Times on Monday that they are confident in the Chinese teams and see bright prospects for the acceptance of e-sports around the world.

According to Chinese national e-sports team, a selection process was conducted from March 30 to June 9. A total of 27 coaches and 125 athletes applied, with five coaches and 31 athletes ultimately making the final cut.

Media has reported that the Hangzhou Asian Games will feature seven esports events for the games Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, Game for Peace Asian Games Version, League of Legends, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, FIFA Online 4 and Street Fighter 5. No Chinese player will participate in the Street Fighter 5 event.

Yu Wenbo, better known as Jackey Love, a selected player from League of Legends, has been confirmed as the team's Attack-Damage Carry player during the Asian Games.

Experts and enthusiasts say that the selected team is strong and consists of both established champions and up-and-coming players, giving them confidence in the team's ability to compete at the highest level.

Wang Qi, a member of the Global E-sports Federation, told the Global Times on Tuesday that to comprehensively consider athletes' performance, the selection was based on a series of professional e-sports tournaments and events.

He added that the competition for the selection was fierce, strict and standardized. For example, selected athletes had to undergo doping tests in accordance with the requirements for participating in the Asian Games.

According to the released list, Wang said that the selected athletes present an "old mixed with new" setup, with a combination of athletes that have already participated in the 2018 Asian Games and a new generation of stalwart players.

These athletes have turned from professional players into national team players with a sense of pride coupled with solid competitive strength, Wang said, noting he is confident that a national team consisting of elite players from the domestic top e-sports clubs will quickly learn how to work better.

With six national teams announced so far, Wang predicts that China could take three to four gold medals at the Games.

"China has a good shot at winning gold medals in the events for Arena of Valor and Game for Peace as we have no close contenders in these two mobile e-sports," Xie Fan, founder of Famulei, a Chinese company specializing in e-sports, entertainment and livestream operations, told the Global Times on Monday.

"Comparing to foreign mobile e-sports, China has a fully fledged market and competition mechanism, so we have a much larger pool of talents in these two e-sports," he said.

Yu Tong, a commentator who once worked on a League of Legends match during the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, told the Global Times on Monday that South Korea is the main competitor for League of Legends, but there is little competition for Arena of Valor. Meanwhile, Dota 2 faces competition from Southeast Asian teams, but the fact that athletes compete under their country's flag means that many talented players are spread across different teams, reducing competitiveness.

He added that a recent concern about "possible unfair treatment" at the Asian Games from Seoul SK Knights general manager Oh Kyung-sik was "unnecessary."

"There is no scoring system, and once athletes enter the game, everything happens within the game without external interference… Everyone is on the same starting line and there is no discrimination against any country's athletes," he added.

For many e-sports fans, the inclusion of e-sports as an official event in the Asian Games is exciting news. Ame, a 30-year-old senior Dota 2 player from East China's Zhejiang Province, says the move will help improve the social acceptance of e-sports, which has been viewed as a form of entertainment only for young people and has struggled to gain recognition in China.

This integration of e-sports into society will deepen further, and the Hangzhou Asian Games will be a critical milestone for this, expanding the positive value of e-sports and increasing public awareness of e-sports as a sport that brings honor to the country.

Lukas Yan, a senior fan of e-sports based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that the whole world will understand that "e-sport is no longer just a time-wasting activity but can also be a competitive field worth fighting for on behalf of their own country."

According to the 2022 Asian E-sports Industry Development Report, 66.3 percent of netizens believe that e-sports can promote cultural exchanges at the national level. In social networking, e-sports culture has become an important common topic with a unique allure for young people from various countries.

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