E-sports: Selection process for 2019 SEA Games announced, representatives to be decided by May

E-sports is making its inaugural appearance as a medal event at the biennial SEA Games. It had previously been a demonstration sport at last August's Asian Games in Indonesia. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first SEA Games e-sports representatives will be unveiled in May, after the Singapore Esports Association announced on Friday (Feb 1) its selection process for this year's edition of the biggest multi-sport competition in the region.

The Nov 30-Dec 10 SEA Games in the Philippines will feature six game titles. Five have been confirmed: Dota 2 and Starcraft II (PC), Tekken 7 (console), and Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends (mobile). The sixth is likely to be NBA 2K, but Games organisers have yet to issue official confirmation.

Two selection events will be held, with an open qualifier taking place in March before the top eight contest the national selection finals in May.

Two players each will be selected for Tekken 7 and Starcraft II, which are played in an individual format, with the other four titles team-based.

"We have taken careful steps to ensure the integrity and fairness of this selection process, in what is a historic milestone for e-sports in Singapore and South-east Asia," said the association's president Ng Chong Geng.

"The framework has been built to ensure that new and existing athletes - as well as overseas and veteran players - have the opportunity to qualify to represent Singapore."

Ng, who set up the association last November, added that the selection process has been approved by national sports agency Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

E-sports is making its inaugural appearance as a medal event at the biennial SEA Games. It had previously been a demonstration sport at last August's Asian Games in Indonesia.

Registration for March's qualifier opens is now open, and closes on Feb 28. All participants must be at least 18 years old.

Individuals and teams who have placed third or higher previously at the regional level can apply to the association to receive a bye into May's final as one of four seeds, with more importance attached to results from international world finals or tournaments on the professional circuits of the respective game titles.

The seeded teams for the selection finals will be announced on March 1. The association is also expected to nominate a head coach candidate to the SNOC.

The response from leading teams in the local e-sports scene was largely positive.

"We are happy to see that the door has been opened for both team-based players and individual players, and more importantly, we are confident that the selection format is fair," said Team Flash chief executive officer Terence Ting.

The organisation's Fifa Online team were crowned Asian champions for the second consecutive year last November, taking home US$100,000 (S$134,816) in prize money. Fifa is not among the titles on the SEA Games slate.

Ting declined to reveal which titles Flash has its eyes on at this point, but said they are aiming "for a podium spot" at the SEA Games.

Fellow local e-sports organisation Resurgence, who have 12 teams over nine games on their roster, are expected to field teams for three of the SEA Games titles.

Resurgence recorded 17 championship wins and 36 podium finishes last year.

"The SEA Games is a huge opportunity for us to change mindsets in Singapore about e-sports and I am very excited for the possibilities that it can bring," said Resurgence owner Jayf Soh.

"We respect what the NSA (national sports association) has said about the selection process and we will support them."

More information can be found at the Singapore Esports Association's Facebook page.

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