New e-sports training base at Sports Hub

Team Flash trying out their training facility at the OCBC Arena yesterday set up under a partnership with the Singapore Sports Hub.
Team Flash trying out their training facility at the OCBC Arena yesterday set up under a partnership with the Singapore Sports Hub.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Singapore Sports Hub and local e-sports organisation Team Flash announced the signing of a talent development partnership yesterday, with an eye on November's SEA Games and the 2022 Asian Games.

E-sports is making its debut as a medal sport in both events.

Under the partnership, the Sports Hub will house a new dedicated training facility for Team Flash at the OCBC Arena, with players also gaining access to the gym, physiotherapists and psychologists that their counterparts in traditional sports enjoy.

Flash will conduct regular workshops among other community engagement efforts. The partnership is for an initial six months with an option to extend after.

The facility, which was unveiled yesterday, boasts six PCs and four Playstation 4 consoles for Flash's 11 local players for games like card game Hearthstone, battle royale title Fortnite and football simulation Fifa Online.

Team Flash chief executive officer Terence Ting said the partnership ticked two boxes for them.

"The traditional sports infrastructure at the Sports Hub was a big reason we decided to come here because e-sports is still developing in a lot of areas," he said.

"And having a partner like the Sports Hub really helps to elevate the legitimacy of our space as well."

Team Flash are one of the leading e-sports organisations in the local scene, with their Fifa Online team crowned Asian champions for the second straight year in November.

Dedicated e-sports training facilities are not a new concept - Flash's 13 players in Vietnam live together in what is known as a "team house" in e-sports - but it was not an option previously available to Flash's Singapore players.

"Before this, I would just train at home. Just like in traditional sports, it's not really possible for a player to analyse his own performance as he's playing.

"So I would have to record my gameplay and watch it after," said Fifa Online player Joseph "Zarate" Yeo, who is Flash's only full-time local player.

"Being able to train alongside my teammates saves a lot of time because we're able to give advice on the spot and this helps us improve faster."

The six titles to be contested at the SEA Games are Dota 2, Starcraft II, Tekken 7, NBA 2K , Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends.

SEA Games hosts the Philippines are expected to field some of Asia's top NBA 2K players, but the game is less popular in other Asean countries, including Singapore.

But Yeo revealed that he would be contesting the local NBA 2K qualifiers, likely next month, with Flash teammates Shabbeer "Shabs" Ahmad and Fardeen "Fardino" Hussain and two other friends.

"I'm an NBA fan and I do think my team will have the advantage because both Fifa and NBA 2K are console games and we can get used to the controls faster," said the 25-year-old.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'New e-sports training base at Sports Hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe