India has a sizable population with a deep love for football, and the country as a whole is home to a large player base for virtual football games. India will attempt to go from the virtual field to the podium as its talented athletes compete in esports’ debut as an official medal sport at the 19th Asian Games, fueled by the encouragement of this spirited community.

Bearing the flag of the country against Asia’s best will be Charanjot Singh and Karman Tikka who secured their berth for the tournament by reaching the finals of the National Esports Championships (NESC) organised by the Esports Federation of India (ESFI) where Singh prevailed by 4-1 and 6-5 in two games. The two athletes will first be travelling to Seoul, South Korea for the seeding event set to take place from 2 to 6 August.

Here are the athletes who are preparing to represent their nation in Hangzhou:

Charanjot Singh
The 20-year-old college student from Chandigarh describes himself as first, a football fanatic. “When I’m not playing FIFA on my console, I’m watching it on TV or I’m out on a field playing football,” he said. He’s now one of two FIFA 22 players selected for the 16-player esports contingent that will represent India at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Ranked as the number one FIFA 22 athlete in India, Singh has emerged as the winner of the ESL India Premiership twice, the ILG Cup Season 3, and triumphed in the AIFF eFootball Challenge twice, consistently proving his mettle within the Indian gaming circuit. He finished as the runner-up in the eISL last year and has also triumphed in the Esportz Premiership India and Nostra Gaming competitions on two occasions.

Moving beyond India, Singh has displayed his skills internationally by winning the FGS Singapore Open, FGS South Asia Play-ins, FIFA eNations Asia Playoffs, and FAS eSports Championship. Moreover, he has proudly represented India in various locations such as Denmark, London (three times), Qatar, and Malaysia. His consistent success has led to India being ranked 6th in the world of FIFA esports.

It is interesting to note that Singh didn’t own a console until a few years ago and started playing on a friend’s desktop. It was after his first win, at the EA Road to Russia event in 2018, that his parents bought him his own. After seeing their son’s achievements till now, they now see esports as a viable career option.

“It’s come to a point where my mother, who doesn’t watch any of my games, has taken an interest in how I am performing. She asks for regular updates and advises me to focus on honing my skill and this is motivating enough to make me want to bring a medal home,” said Singh.

At the Asian Games, Singh will not just be carrying the hopes of his parents but the entire country on his shoulders as he strives to bring a medal back to India.

Ranked India no.1
ESL India premiership – Winner 2 times, Runner up 1 time
ILG Cup Season 3 winner
AIFF eFootball Challenge – Winner 2 times
Esportz Premiership India Winner
Nostra Gaming – Winner 2 times
EISL Runner up
FGS Singapore Open Winner
FGS South Asia Playins Winner
FIFA eNations Asia Playoffs Winner
FAS eSports Championship Winner
Represented India in Denmark, London (3 times), Qatar, Malaysia

Karman Singh Tikka
Hailing from Delhi, Karman Tikka, also known by his in-game name “tikkatown,” is a 20-year-old FIFA 22 player that has made a name for himself within the competitive gaming community. Even though representing his country at the Asian Games in Hangzhou is more pressure than usual, Tikka expects himself to come home from the tournament with a medal.

His self-belief and prominence in the game have helped him clinch the second place in the inaugural Hero eISL and emerge as a champion in the 2nd TEC Community Cup last year. Tikka’s skills have also helped him secure the 1st place winner in the AIFF eFootball Challenge Qualifier and achieve a top-four finish in the ESL India Premiership Cup-8.

Currently ranked 2064 in the Elite Division of the game, Tikka’s love for football extends beyond gaming. Having started watching football in 2009, he witnessed Chelsea’s victory in the Premier League and immediately became their life-long supporter.

However, when it comes to FIFA 22, Tikka has a preference for choosing Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as his team of choice. “PSG boasts the best dribblers in the game, and I enjoy utilising their skills and abilities to gain an edge on the virtual pitch,” sshared Tikka. With his dedication, talent and strategic brilliance, he has all the attributes to make the country proud and fulfill his dream at the Asian Games.

2nd Position in the inaugural Hero eISL (March 22).
2nd TEC Community Cup-FIFA22 (April 22)
2nd Position in the NESC 2022 / RDAG (April 22)
1st AIFF eFootball Challenge Qualifier (February 22)
Top 4 in ESL India Premiership Cup-8 (March 21)
1st Grand Championship – FIFA19 (May 19)
Winner of Theesportsclub Comic Con ( December 22)
Winner of Lxg Minor 1 ( June 23)
Top 4 in Enations Cup
Runner-up of Sportskeeda FIFA World Cup Edition ( December 22)
Winner of Alienware FIFA Cup ( June 23)
Top 10 in FGS 2