Solon lauds historic inclusion of e-sports in Asian Games

A senator has welcomed the inclusion of e-sports in the Asian Games, saying it will provide Filipinos another venue to showcase their skills and excel in the international stage as they compete for the country’s flag and honor.

The victorious "Imperium Pro Team" from the Philippines who won won the Southeast Asia leg of the “Heroes of the Storm: Fall Championship” at the Pantip eSports Arena in Bangkok, Thailand in September 2016

The victorious “Imperium Pro Team” from the Philippines who won won the Southeast Asia leg of the “Heroes of the Storm: Fall Championship” at the Pantip eSports Arena in Bangkok, Thailand in September 2016

“The inclusion of e-sports in the prestigious Asian Games will give Filipino e-sports athletes opportunity to showcase their talent and bring honor to the Philippines,” said Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, a supporter of local e-sports and video game development industry in the country.

With the addition of e-sports in the Asian Games, Aquino said Filipino e-sports talents will now be recognized as legitimate athletes and entitled to financial and other forms of support from the government, like traditional athletes who compete in international events.

“With this development, we expect the government to fully support our Filipino cyber athletes as they hone their skills through training and participation in local and international events,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

“Also, the inclusion will eventually correct the public’s negative perception about e-sports, especially if they properly managed and given guidance by the government,” he added.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that e-sports will be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. In 2022, e-sports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Hangzhou Games.

With Aquino’s help, the Philippine e-sports Association (PeSPA) was formed to strengthen the foundation of e-sports in the country. Also, it was established to look after the welfare of cyber athletes and stakeholders and the promotion of e-sports in the country. Aquino was also selected as PeSPA’s honorary chairman.

In January, Filipino online gamer Euneil “Staz” Javinas bested a competitor from Sweden to emerge as champion at the inaugural World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) 2016 held in China.

Javinas went home with a 25-kilogram trophy and $150,000 (about P7 million) in prize money, purportedly the highest e-sports winnings ever achieved by an individual Filipino player.

His triumph comes after a team of Filipino team dubbed TNC Pro defeated a European team — also at the WESG — to win $800,000 grand prize (about P40 million), reputedly the biggest cash that a Filipino team has won in e-sports.

In September last year, Team Philippines, represented by Imperium Pro Team, also won the Southeast Asia leg of the “Heroes of the Storm: Fall Championship” at the Pantip eSports Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

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