E-sports requires many athletic abilities too

E-sports gamers at Scape on Sept 2, 2019.
E-sports gamers at Scape on Sept 2, 2019.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

We thank Ms Juliana Foo for her feedback (E-sports is not a sport by definition, Sept 6).

There is a clear and important difference between gaming for fun or as a hobby, and playing competitively. In e-sports, individuals or teams compete for entertainment and, often, prize money.

Professional gamers prepare and train with an intensity comparable to that of athletes in traditional sports. Rising to the top of their field requires a high level of skill, dedication and endurance that is no different to that in traditional sports.

While this may not be apparent to the average observer, there are many athletic abilities required in e-sports - hand-eye coordination, responsiveness and agility, succinct communication with teammates, to name a few - that also draw many parallels with traditional sports.

Physical strains as a result may also unfortunately pose problems for athletes who train for extended periods of time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome resulting from an overuse of the mouse arm without proper exercise or rest breaks.

In addition to being physically fit, e-sports athletes are required to also maintain peak mental condition to achieve optimal gaming performance. Athletes must process multiple decisions quickly in-game, often under incredible pressure in front of thousands in sporting arenas or stadiums, all while efficiently working in a team and flawlessly executing strategy.

The inclusion of e-sports has undergone a thorough review by the South-east Asian Games Federation, which has deemed it a suitable inclusion in the Games. The Singapore Esports Association (SGEA) as well as the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) support this decision.

As the national sports association for e-sports in Singapore and an affiliate of the SNOC, the SGEA is committed to the growth of e-sports as an ecosystem and a sport, particularly as it relates to the development of professional athletes, and the regulation of the sport as a whole.

The e-sports athletes selected by the SNOC for the 2019 SEA Games have trained hard to earn the privilege to represent Singapore.

We hope, along with many thousands of others, that Singaporeans can unite in supporting them.

Kelvin Tan

Secretary General

Singapore Esports Association

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2019, with the headline 'E-sports requires many athletic abilities too'. Print Edition | Subscribe