Thailand won the first e-sports medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday (9/26). They won the bronze medal after defeating Vietnam in an "Arena of Valor" match using mobile phone games. The event was closely watched by Olympic officials.
Arena of Valor" itself, developed by a subsidiary of Chinese tech company Tencent, is one of the most popular multiplayer battle arena games in Asia.
While esports was a demonstration tournament at the Jakarta Asian Games five years ago, the Hangzhou Asian Games is the first to feature it as a medal event. This adds prestige to the video game industry's quest to be included in the Olympic program.
At the Hangzhou Asian Games itself, seven gold medals were up for grabs in a variety of sports, including online soccer and multiplayer battle arena games.
The tournament has attracted many visitors to the Hangzhou Esports Center since last Sunday, demonstrating the enthusiasm of esports fans in China. Although Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on children's gaming time and discouraged excessive gaming since 2021, enthusiastic locals have been passionately supporting the Thai team at the Hangzhou Esports Center.
On Tuesday, the crowd cheered on Thailand's five players - Sorawat Boonphrom, Anusak Manpdong, Chayut Suebka, Vatcharanan Thaworn and Kawee Wachiraphas - as they defeated Vietnam 2-0 in a best-of-three match for the bronze medal in the Arena of Valor.
As the music blared and the commentary was broadcast live, the players sat in their teams on a neon-lit stage underneath a large screen showing the game to the adoring fans.
Throughout the nearly 40-minute match, players excitedly tapped on the small screens of their devices and communicated with their teammates through headsets.
Meanwhile, in the evening session on Tuesday, China and Malaysia played for the first esports gold medal. In this match, China won the first Asian Games eSports gold medal, defeating Malaysia 2-0 in the "Arena of Valor" smartphone game.
Source: Reuters | New Straits Times