The Asian Games ’22 began in Hangzhou, China on 23 September and esports has made its debut as a medal event in this edition of the games. The competition has an official inclusion of seven esports games – Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, FIFA Online 4, League of Legends, Peace Elite Asian Games Version and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.

The tournament host China won the Asian Games 2022’s first ever esports gold medal on 26 September, an event that was closely watched by Olympic officials. A team of five Chinese gamers beat Malaysia 2-0 in a best of three clash for the popular smartphone game Arena of Valor, in a contest that stretched to 45 minutes.

Arena of Valor is a mobile multiplayer battle game developed by Tencent, which is popular in Asia. The chinese official version of the game is called Honor of Kings. The game has been released in more than 30 countries, and released on Google Play Store India on 1 March 2018.

While Malaysia had to content itself with a silver, Thailand too claimed the Games’ first esports medal by beating Vietnam for the bronze.

While Arena of Valor did not see participation from India, the country did participate in League of Legends, and finished fifth. South Korea emerged as the winner of the game.

India’s League of Legends unit was captained by Akshaj Shenoy (Kai), and comprised Samarth Arvind Trivedi (CrankO), Mihir Ranjan (Lotus), Sanindhya Malik (Deadcorp), Aakash Shandilya (Infi), Aditya Selvaraj (Krow). The team suffered a hard-fought 0-2 defeat against Vietnam in the quarter finals and bowed out of the tournament.

Team captain Shenoy after finishing fifth said, “It’s truly disheartening knowing we weren’t able to bag a medal for our country. As a team, it was our first ever international event as we have only participated in South Asian tournaments and we are quite happy with our performance at a global scale after securing the 5th spot and we will train harder and come back stronger. I would like to thank ESFI, our coach Samuel Boudrie, and all our supporters out there for hyping us up and supporting us along the way!”

With India out of FIFA Online 4, League of Legends, and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, all eyes are on the country’s DOTA 2 team which will begin their campaign against Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines in their opening group stage games on 29 September.