E-sports: One Esports Dota 2 event in S'pore hit by Covid-19 triple whammy

Organisers confirmed on the first day of competition that a participant had tested positive for the coronavirus. PHOTO: ONE ESPORTS

SINGAPORE - The One Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major presented by PGL was handed a triple blow by Covid-19 even before the tournament kicked off at Fairmont Singapore on Saturday (March 27).

Organisers One Esports confirmed on the first day of competition that a participant had tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. The development comes after participating teams Natus Vincere (Na'Vi) and Beastcoast withdrew on Thursday and Friday respectively due to coronavirus-related issues.

According to the organisers, the 28-year-old American had tested negative before he flew over from Romania for the closed-door event, but received a positive test result upon arrival in Singapore.

He was identified only as Case 61186 who arrived as part of an e-sports event crew in the Ministry of Health's nightly update of Covid-19 cases on Friday.

He was placed in isolation upon arrival and was taken to hospital after testing positive.

According to One Esports, his close contacts are serving their quarantine in a dedicated facility.

"The health and safety of the players, talent and all who are involved in this closed-door tournament, including the wider community, is of utmost importance to us," said the One Esports spokesman.

"This case was detected through the screening protocols and stringent measures that were put in place to safeguard the health of our local community as well as the event participants."

The Covid-19 protocols in place for the US$500,000 (S$672,950) tournament include mandatory tests for foreign players, including before departure and upon arrival in Singapore. They will then be isolated until they receive a negative test result.

Players have to follow a strictly-controlled itinerary and eliminated teams are required to return to their home countries immediately.

With the withdrawal of Na'Vi and Beastcoast, 16 teams remain in the nine-day tournament, which kicked off the wildcard stages on Saturday.

Ukraine-based Na'Vi said captain Andrii "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko and Bogdan "Iceberg" Vasilenko had tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

Coach Andrey "Mag" Chipenko and Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev were supposed to replace them, but the former also tested positive days before the team were set to leave for Singapore.

South American team Beastcoast said captain Steven "StingeR" Vargas Mamani of Peru is in isolation after being exposed to Covid-19 this week.

Although all the players tested negative for the virus, the team made the "difficult decision" to pull out of the tournament as a precautionary measure.

Organised in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, the tournament is the first major event of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit.

It is the second e-sports event that Singapore is hosting this year after the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M2 World Championship in January.

That event was also not spared from Covid-19, as three players from Brazil team DreamMax tested positive, but they played their games while in isolation and the event went on as planned.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.