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What Indian Esports Athletes Are Doing To Prepare For The Asian Games!

Newsroom May 6, 2022
Esports will make an appearance at the 2022 Asian Games
Read about the stories of all the teams and players representing India in the Asian Games 2022
Read about the issues ESFI is currently facing!

Esports, which debuted as a complete medal sport at the 2018 Asian Games, will make the same appearance at the 2022 Asian Games, which will be held from September 10 to 25.

Due to this Mayank Prajapati's last few weeks have really been frantic. The 32-year-old spends a massive amount of time with his eight-month-old baby. He tends to his freelance profession as an interior decorator once the baby is asleep. Then, for almost seven hours, Prajapati is addicted to the monitor, practising Street Fighter V, a single-player online video game in which he competes against many of Asia's best players.

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It was all very separate a little more than a month ago; his method of gaming was, at best, casual. But everything shifted when he got a phone call from Lokesh Suji, the director of the Esports Federation of India (ESFI). Suji informed Prajapati of Street Fighter V is featured in the 2022 Asian Games. So he put in the hours, ultimately winning the National Esports Championship in April and being named to the team for the Asian Games, where Esports will make its debut in September. His wife, mother, and mother-in-law allowed him unrestricted freedom to practice as quickly as he qualified. He said it was challenging at first to devote time, but he now follows a routine to handle everything.

The 18-member Indian contingent includes a student, a software engineer, and a full-time expert gamer, amongst others, whose worlds were turned upside down when they were chosen to play for their country. What was formerly considered entertainment or merely a hobby is now expected to win recognition and reward for the country. EA Sports' FIFA, League of Legends, HearthStone, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Street Fighter V, and tournament variants of PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor are among the eight video games at the competition.

Mr. Karman Singh Tikka, 19, who will play for FIFA along with Charanjot Singh, recalls participating in local tournaments in malls in New Delhi with his older brother a few years ago. When life came to a halt due to the pandemic, he began to spend many hours gaming. His mother scoffed at his chaotic routine but she's at rest today, knowing that she spent most of her time well. He never saw himself playing competitively, so he was always more concerned with his grades. He now continues working on his game in order to perform well at the Asian Games. And his mother doesn't mind if he sleeps whenever he wants, explains Tikka, chuckling.

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At the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Esports made its first appearance as a demonstration sport. That year, India emerged with a bronze medal with Tirth Mehta in the card-based game HearthStone. Esports was certified as a medal sport at the 2022 version in Hangzhou in September of last year, with 24 medals on play across eight games. While Mehta did not make the cut this time, he is an important element of Shikhar Choudhary and Karthik Varma Vegesna's support team for HearthStone.

Because HeartStone is a conceptual game similar to chess, there is ongoing discussion regarding strategies. The finest players in India have a group, and it was there that he met Tirth for the first time. They examined a large number of games before the qualifiers and will continue to do so in the coming months. According to Vegesna, a 27-year-old IT professional, all of this is critical when making preparations for a tournament.

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ESFI didn't have the time to work with the players in 2018. However, during the past year, they've sponsored numerous events, including daily tournaments, to allow players to perfect their talents. As compared to conventional sports, the playing span of an Esport athlete is quite short. A number of changes occur in the games as well, so it is critical to stay up with them. Because their spots are open to everyone, they've seen a bunch of new talent, according to Suji. Because all of the top players are on their Discord server, it was simple to contact them. They built a lot of buzz around the qualifications and had nearly twice the participation as the previous edition, he adds.

In online forums, players can communicate and discuss all aspects of the games. The simplicity of signing in from the comfort of home has made it possible for people to play on a regular basis, which has helped the community flourish. Moin Ejaz, a 29-year-old full-time player, met his DOTA2 Asian Games colleagues in this manner. He faced them in every competition, and they were frequently among the top three finishers. There had been a lot of debate when they created a team because each player had a different part to play in DOTA2. Ejaz says it took many hours of practice, strategy planning, and evaluation to perfect their gameplay and get results.

While Esports lack the physicality of traditional sports, Varma believes that yoga and meditation have helped him deal with intense situations, especially given HearthStone's timed nature. Prajapati maintains a basic run-jog training routine that allows him to remain calm and focused during tournaments. ESFI intends to hire trainers and a sports psychologist to assist the athletes in the coming months. He has no doubts about their athletes' talents. However, during international competitions or they frequently believe that other teams are extremely good based on their reputation. Suji believes that an attitude adjustment is required and that they must approach the game with a winning mentality.

The Indian squad will compete in regional qualifiers in June and July, which will decide their seeding at the Asian Games. What the ESFI still lacks is recognition from the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Suji argues that this is crucial, as it impacts ESFI’s efforts to obtain the funds necessary to assist with the preparations. They will provide hardware support, and considering the essence of their sport, athletes will be able to train from the comfort of their own homes. However, if the government allots them a budget, it should be able to bring them all together under one roof for a few weeks. And that will undoubtedly benefit them in the run-up to the tournament.

Well, that is all for this article, hope you are excited about the Asian Games as well.

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