Popular e-sports eyeing 2024 Olympic inclusion
With nearly 15 million active gamers nationwide, electronic sports has been gaining traction as a demonstration event in the Philippine hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year.
Electronic Sports Association of the Philippines (Esap) president Arniel Gutierrez recently met with top Philippine Olympic Committee officials on the possibility of including E-sports in the 2019 SEA Games calendar where at least three gold medals will be offered.
E-sports has been lined up as a demo sport in the ongoing 18th Asian Games in Indonesia and was played in the 2017 Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games where the Philippines took home a bronze medal in the Dota 2 discipline.
“We have a solid base of players here in the country and I’m confident we are capable of winning a medal in the Olympics,” said Gutierrez, who has formed a partnership with Ryan Lei of Wargods Pro Gaming Arena, the biggest community of gamers in the country.
The International Olympic Committee included E-sports as a demo event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with six gold medals at stake.
Games such as Starcraft, Hearthstone and Clash Royale will be played individually while League of Legends, Pro Evolution Soccer and Arena of Valor are listed as team events.
According to Gutierrez, the Philippine team will carry the E-Aguilas moniker in the international scene as the global
E-sports community expects that the IOC will make the sport a regular event in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
A forum on E-sports was held last month at its headquarters in Switzerland.
“Our agenda is to push for the Olympic agenda,” said Kenneth Fok, president of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, at the opening of e-sports at the Asian Games. “This is our work. And this is our passion, this is what drives us. When, I do not want to predict.”
Gutierrez said preparations to organize a series of tournaments in the run-up to the SEA Games will begin in earnest once the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee led by its chair, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, gives its blessings.
“We have a strong team for the SEA Games with Indonesia and Thailand our toughest rivals,” said Gutierrez.
He said Esap would set up qualifying tournaments in Cebu, Davao, Daet, Lipa City, Dagupan City, Angeles City, Antipolo, Manila, Cubao, Taguig and Fairview once they get the go signal from Cayetano and the POC.
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