Asian Games landmark for e-sports ignites Olympic dreams

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Prajapati, a 3D designer, recalled how his father once tracked him down out playing video games at night, surrounded by half a dozen cheering children.

“I got a lot of scolding … I think I got beaten up,” laughed Prajapati, himself now a father to a two-year-old boy.

Prajapati’s tale is a familiar one among gamers from different countries.

Kim Gwan-woo, who will represent South Korea in Street Fighter V, told AFP in Seoul, “My parents absolutely hated me playing video games.”

They remain “dubious” about him going to the Asian Games, he said, but added, “I think they will be very happy if I actually win a medal”.

South Korea, together with hosts China, are expected to be the dominant force in e-sports at the Games.

OLYMPIC DREAM?

E-sports events at the Games are expected to play out to bumper crowds at the futuristic-looking China Hangzhou Esports Centre – a far cry from players slinking off to dingy arcades against their parent’s wishes.

Its inclusion at the Games is a milestone for e-sports in its quest for recognition as a “real” sport, said Professor Kang of Shingu College, who was one of the first generation of Korean professional gamers under the alias “H.O.T Forever”.

“When I was a player in the late 1990s the initial reaction was, ‘Why is a video game on TV?'” Kang told AFP.

“But with the hard work of the players and staff, I think we’re about 90 per cent there in becoming a real sport,” he added.

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