E-sports is not a sport by definition

Singtel's PVP Inter-Campus League last weekend saw more than 90 teams from tertiary institutions in Singapore taking part. Gamers are hoping for greater public recognition of e-sports. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

I find it difficult to accept e-sports as a medal sport at the 2019 SEA Games (Changing the public's perception of e-sports, Sept 4).

The widely accepted definition of sport is an activity that needs physical effort and skill. While gaming requires effort and skill, I question its physical challenges.

Athletes train rigorously, abide by a strict diet and hone their physical prowess to compete face to face with the best in their chosen field. Gaming falls short in these aspects.

How can a gamer who sits and moves his fingers and eyes 12 hours a day, eating normal meals and not using his other muscles, compare with athletes, who sacrifice normal food and test their limits to achieve the best physical form?

While I do not dispute the gamers' dedication, hard work and intense concentration, it is unfair to label them as sportsmen - or e-sportsmen, if there is such a term.

It is not a physical sport and should not be in the SEA Games or similar events like the Olympics.

Can a youngster claim that he is doing a sport when he is playing computer games instead of kicking a football? Can knitting or baking be labelled a sport since they also mobilise the brain, fingers and eyes, much like gaming?

I cannot imagine how the contingents of sportsmen and gamers will blend during the SEA Games and what they have in common. The game is not on if it is not even a sport to start with.

Juliana Foo

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2019, with the headline E-sports is not a sport by definition. Subscribe