The 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which is hosted by the Philippines, marks a milestone in sports history by having e-sports as an official medal event.
The Philippines is being represented in the event by its national team, Sibol. The name sibol translates to “growth” in English. The members of the team are the best players from Mobile Premier League (MPL) champion teams Bren Esports, Cignal Ultra, and ArkAngel.
Sibol will be competing in all six titles featured in the eSports event of the 30th SEA Games — namely Dota 2, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Tekken 7.
Out of the 27 gamers on team, Jacinta “Jia” Dee is also making history as the only female player. Dee, who is affiliated with Bren Esports, is designated as a Hearthstone player.
Dee is a graduate of Philippine Science High School (main campus). She went on to take BS Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at UP Diliman. She graduated last year.
The realm of e-sports or the gaming culture is currently tagged as “male-dominated.” Data from research firm Interpret revealed: “Of those who play games considered an e-sport on console/PC, only 35 percent are female. Of those who consider themselves e-sports watchers, 30 percent are women. Of those who watch e-sports leagues, 20 percent are women.”
The inclusion of e-sports in the Southeast Asian Games was lobbied by Min-Liang Tan, who is the CEO of Singapore-based gaming firm Razer. Prior to the current SEA Games, e-sports was played as a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.It is being considered for inclusion the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
The ongoing 2019 SEA Games runs until December 11. The e-sports tournament will be held at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City from December 5 to 10.