In his bid to take stock of the preparations and planning of non-Olympic sports federations participating at the upcoming Asian Games, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra called upon and met the officials of nine sports federations—including the Esports Federation of India (ESFI)—at the Olympic Bhawan on Monday, February 14, 2022.
The Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) is recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia as the sole governing body for eSports across the Asian continent. It is also in charge of technical conduct for eSports at the 2022 Asian Games.
The ESFI, which is a recognised member of the Asian body in India, has been sending eSports teams since 2007 to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. At the 2018 Asian Games, India got the Bronze Medal in the eSports title HearthStone as eSports was a demonstration event.
Esports is now set to make its debut as a medal event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China to be held from September 10 to 25.
Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), commented:
‘We are very thankful to the President of IOA Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra ji for appraising ESFI & other non-Olympic sports federations on the various organizing aspects of the Asian Games, to be staged later this year. We also discussed & apprised Batra ji on the preparations, requirements and future planning for the country’s Esports contingent and “AESF’s Road to Asian Games” program which will be launched soon to select the national esports contingent of our country.
‘The “AESF Road to Asian Games 2022” will prove to be a milestone journey and act as a catalyst in not only the growth of the esports ecosystem in India but also to consider esports as a form of sports in India. At ESFI end, we are fully committed to growing the esports ecosystem and creating enough opportunities for the Indian esports athletes to participate in the various such events of repute.’
The meeting was co-chaired by Chef de Mission Mr. Bhupender Singh Bajwa, and detailed discussions were held regarding training camps and various expenditures that are required. During the meeting, the IOA stressed on the need for a fair and transparent selection process of players and athletes. The last date for the submission of the Indian Team entries by name is April 15, 2022.
The ESFI is also recognised by the International Esports Federation (IESF) as well as the Global Esports Federation (GEF), which is in charge of conducting the trial events for the Inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championship at this year’s Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.
On behalf of the ESFI, Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), Mr. Yugal Sharma, Director, Esports Federation of India and Mr. Prabhat Kumar, Treasurer, Esports Federation of India, were present in the meeting. The ESFI team also presented the “Road to Asian Games” Jersey to IOA President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra and Chef de Mission Mr. Bhupender Singh Bajwa.
Mr. Vinod Kumar Tiwari, President of Esports Federation of India, stated:
‘ESFI is committed to the development of esports and bringing together the esports fraternity to unlock the full potential of our athletes and provide them with enough international opportunities to compete with their counterparts at an equal level. We take this opportunity to further request the esports community to carry on with their training and get used to the challenges for making into the team to represent in this mega event.’
The 2022 edition of the Asian Games will see medals being awarded in eight categories of eSports, which are: EA SPORTS FIFA, Asian Games versions of PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor, DotA 2, League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Hearthstone and Street Fighter V. The ESFI has appealed to the probable qualifying players to get their passports ready and be fully vaccinated.
Besides the ESFI, other eight non-Olympic sports federations which were present at the meeting were Bridge, Chess, Ju-Jitshu, Kurash, Sepaktakraw, Sports Climbing, Soft Tennis and Softball.