Earlier this week, Chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Abraham Tolentino, said he would invite other Southeast Asian countries to convince Vietnam that they would re-establish esports as a sports branch in the SEA Games next year. Indeed, along with the growing popularity of competitive gaming, esports has begun to become part of the prestigious sporting event.
At the 2018 Asian Games held in Indonesia, esports were held as an exhibition match. While at the 2019 Asian Games held in the Philippines, esports became a branch of sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also said that esports might be included in the Olympics, even though the only sports that could be held were sports competitions. They even agreed to display esports as a demonstration at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Philippine Olympic Committee is not the only organization that supports the holding of esports matches at the 2021 SEA Games. The Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) also supports the inclusion of esports in the SEA Games next year.
On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, AESF Director General Sebastian Lau sent written notes to Ramon Suzara, President of the National Electronic Sports Federation of the Philippines (NESFP). Lau explained, Vietnam wanted to remove esports from the list of sports held in the SEA Games and she asked Suzara’s support to convince Vietnam to re-enter esports in the SEA Games.
“AESF wants the federations in Southeast Asia to work together to support a collaborative program with the Olympics,” Lau said, as quoted by Philippine media, Tempo. “To strengthen our relationship, I want to encourage all of you to support the holding of esports as a branch of sports at the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi.”
Meanwhile, Suzara said, “Support from AESF is good news for esports. All Southeast Asian countries are already familiar with esports and they will also want esports to become a sport that will be held in Vietnam next year. “