The Philippines’ long-awaited first Olympic gold medal could come not from boxing, swimming, or weightlifting, but from electronic sports or “e-sports.”
E-sports, an umbrella term for computer gaming competitions involving individual players or teams, has gained popularity in recent years. Professional individuals and teams from across the globe now compete for substantial prize money on sanctioned and well-organized international tournaments.
An event whose time has come
Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to fully recognize e-sports as a potential event, the Olympic body has actively supported e-sports and has partnered with some of the biggest technology companies to hold e-sports competitions featuring the latest computer games.
In Asia, some of the regional sporting events have included e-sports as a mainstream event. In fact, e-sports is one of the events at the Southeast Asian Games – or SEA Games – held recently in the Philippines.
A Filipino college student and gamer Caviar “EnDerr” Acampado took the gold medal in the “Starcraft II” event of the recent SEA Games. Starcraft is a real-time strategy game played worldwide and is known as one of the most popular games for tournaments. Currently, it is one of the most popular games for organized international competitions.
Filipino e-sports players are ‘world-class’
For Chot Reyes, one of the most decorated coaches of the play-for-pay Philippine Basketball Association, the victory of a Filipino athlete in the SEA Games might just be the first step.
“Our dream is to win a gold medal in the Olympics. I don’t think it is far-fetched that we might be able to win that first-ever Olympic gold medal though e-sports,” Reyes said.
Reyes, who is e-sports president of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL), said Filipino players continue to show that they are world-class when it comes to e-sports.
Reyes’ organization, the PCCL is best known for bringing together the biggest collegiate leagues in the Philippines such as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.
He noted that “the same way basketball grew from the grassroots level, we’re now excited to promote and grow e-sports in the country.”
PCCL also recently inked a partnership with e-sports company Mineski Global to promote e-sports in the collegiate and senior high school levels. The partnership is expected to give e-sports in the Philippines a big boost.