SINGAPORE - A fighting fit Brandon Chia is ready for his first offline e-sports competition in two years.
The Singaporean Street Fighter player is among over 100 athletes from more than 50 countries and territories competing in this weekend's inaugural Global Esports Games at Resorts World Sentosa. Three games will be featured - Street Fighter V: Champions Edition, Dota 2 and eFootball 2022.
While excited, Chia, a 29-year-old business analyst, remained modest about his expectations, saying: "I have not set any goals or targets for myself because it's been a very long time since the world has had offline competitions.
"I do understand the tournament pressure and nerves that may come on the day itself, but if anything I just want to perform at the level that I can and let the results speak for themselves."
Yet it was barely two years ago that Chia, a former snooker player who competed in Under-21 events at the Asian and world level, almost considered packing it in.
Determined to attain results, he was practising for three hours a day and while it initially helped him improve, it was not long before he was burnt out.
Chia, an athlete with e-sports organisation Sin Esports, said: "It was having a negative impact on everything around me, it's just not a nice feeling to have. It was like a combination of things - it was the pressure winning and then at the same time, there was fatigue, both physically and mentally."
That was when Chia decided to follow a training regimen that would allow him to get adequate practice and rest. Now, he trains for about three hours after work from Monday to Thursday, reserving Friday and the weekend for family and close friends.
This new approach has led to positive results this year, with Chia winning the Intel World Open SEA title and coming in third at the Capcom Pro Tour South-east Asia and the Evolution Championship Series 2021 Online Asia South.
He said: "A lot of aspiring e-sports players have faced the same thing because when they start entering tournaments, they feel like they're good enough to win, but are not producing results so they keep trying as I did.
"I've definitely been a happier person because I no longer feel tired, so it's easier. Nowadays if I start to feel burnout, I do take one week off.
"People around me have always been very supportive. My wife has been very supportive and I'm very thankful for that."
Ahead of the GEG, Ng Shin Ein, chair of the Singapore 2021 GEG organising committee, said: "E-sports has brought the world together despite the pandemic, and the fact that we have close to 40 teams who made it to the World Finals in Singapore is an unexpected achievement.
"We look forward to celebrating with our outstanding e-sports athletes on the world stage."
The Global Esports Federation, which organises the Games, also revealed its permanent symbol - the Global Esports Cup - in partnership with the GEF's Global Partner, Flare.
Paul J. Foster, the GEF's chief executive officer, said in a statement: "Together with our Global Partner, Flare, and visionary designer Chad Knight, the Global Esports Cup will be minted as the GEF's first NFT (non-fungible token) when it drops at the dawn of the new year.
"Every athlete at the Singapore 2021 Global Esports Games will receive their very own Global Esports Cup as an NFT. "
The statement added that Flare, together with the GEF, is donating a total of one million Songbird which is being shared with every athlete and team heading to Singapore.