In a bid to discuss the growth of esports in the country and hand over exclusive training kits produced by Hama to the Indian esports contingent that will be participating at the Hangzhou Asian Games, the Esports Federation of India (ESFI) organised a special meeting with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) at the IOA office in Delhi on Wednesday.

The event was graced by IOA joint secretary and acting CEO Kalyan Chaubey, who presented the training kits to Street Fighter V athlete Mayank Prajapati, League of Legends player Mihir Ranjan and FIFA ace Harman Tikka in the presence of ESFI director and Asian Esports Federation (AESF) VP Lokesh Suji, ESFI VP Yugal Sharma and ESFI VP Prabhat Kumar.

Chaubey also engaged in a discussion with the ESFI representatives and Indian athletes to motivate them for the Asian Games and talk about fostering an ecosystem that enables esports to thrive in the country.

Addressing the queries of the esports athletes present, Chaubey said, “We are confident about esports having a strong future in India where it will generate a significant amount of interest driven by the young demographic of players in the country. Esports is a new-age sport that every country is playing and the upcoming Asian Games will mark the beginning of a marathon where we hope that our talented athletes help India take a giant lead against the other competitors. Just like the USA is synonymous with baseball, Finland is with ice hockey, and Brazil, Spain and Germany are with football today, the world should be talking about India whenever we talk about esports. The IOA remains fully committed to supporting our athletes and ESFI in every possible way, standing by them as they strive to achieve remarkable success and bring home medals.”

Esports recently gained official recognition as a multi-sport event by the government of India and is set to make its debut as a full-fledged medal sport at the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games. The country will be sending a proficient 15-member contingent to compete in four different titles including DOTA 2, FIFA 22, Street Fighter V and League of Legends at the prestigious tournament set to take place from 23 September to 8 October.

Speaking on the occasion, Street Fighter athlete Prajapati commented, “We felt really good after meeting with Kalyan sir and having a positive discussion about esports with him. His being as passionate about esports as us gamers made the conversation enlightening for all of us and overall, it was a super productive experience. Also, a huge shout-out to ESFI and Hama for providing us with the gaming peripherals.”

The athletes secured their berth for the tournament by prevailing in the National Esports Championship (NESC 22) organised by the ESFI last year. The rest of the members of the Indian contingent will receive their training kits via courier.

League of Legends athlete Ranjan said, “Hearing Chaubey answer our queries was quite reassuring for all of us. It was a motivating session that helped us realise how the IOA is supporting our endeavours and taking an active effort to further broaden the scope of esports in India.”

Comprising state-of-the-art gaming accessories including a mouse, mousepad, headset, keyboard, and a bag, the training kits will enhance the performance of the country’s athletes when they represent India on the international stage.

FIFA athlete Tikka said, “I was really happy to see Indian Olympic Association support us with top-quality facilities. It gives us motivation to perform better and make our country proud. The facilities provided will help us step up our game at the Asian Games.”

While the ESFI has been instrumental in preparing the Indian Esports contingent for the Asian Games, their recent multi-year partnership with FITGMR will be key to enabling a comprehensive training program that will provide the athletes with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed on the global stage.

ESFI director and Asian Esports Federation (AESF) VP Lokesh Suji said, “We are extremely thankful to the IOA and Kalyan Chaubey for sharing their invaluable vision regarding the development of esports in the country and extending their support in fostering its growth. India’s talented athletes competing at the Asian Games in Hangzhou will serve as a pivotal moment in the country’s esports journey so far. The training kits presented to them today will equip them in their optimal preparation for the tournament, boosting their performance to let them play at the highest level. Everyone at ESFI is looking forward to working with the IOA to help our athletes make the country proud.”