Esports players Abhinav Tejan and Ibrahim Gulrez triumphed in the finals of the National Esports Championships (NESC) 2023 organised by the Esports Federation of India (ESFI). With this, they have secured their berths at the global finals of the 15th World Esports Championships (WEC) which will take place in Iasi, Romania from 24 August to 4 September 2023.
WEC 2023 will have a whopping prize pool of $500,000 and is set to be the largest edition of the tournament to date with at least 130 countries participating in eFootball, DOTA 2, Tekken7, Mobile Legends, PUBG: Mobile and CS:GO.
Despite starting from the loser bracket, Tejan, who is a renowned name from the Tekken7 community, proved his mettle against other top athletes of the country. He will represent India at the WEC for a record sixth time. The 29-year-old who won the South Asia regional finals of the Tekken World Tour 2022 last year defeated Loveneet in the grand finals by 3-2, 3-2.
Tejan said, “I have won a lot of tournaments in the past few years but winning the NESC 2023 was really important to me. I had lost two times in it in the past two years. So, I wanted to make a comeback by winning it this year. Qualifying for the IESF finals in Romania had given me the chance to represent India for the sixth time in IESF finals which is personally a really proud moment. I am really looking forward to the finals where I will try my level best to get my country a medal this year.”
Like Tejan, Gulrez also began his campaign from the loser bracket and displayed immense perseverance as well as high-quality gameplay to become the eFootball champion. He beat Pritesh Quinton Dsouza (bad_pritt) by winning the first round by 3-2 and the second round by 3-0 to seal his maiden qualification at the WEC.
He said, “I have been trying to achieve this feat for the last couple of years and to finally get there feels amazing. My victory involved a mixture of hard work and some luck. One can only feel that happiness after trying so hard to win the competition for the last couple of seasons.”
Alongside Tekken and eFootball, the esteemed national qualifiers were also organised for popular PC titles CS:GO and DOTA 2.
In CS:GO (Open), Team Orgless5 toppled the two-time NESC champions Team Wicked Gaming by winning the finals by 2-0. Team Orgless5 comprises team captain Harsh Jain (f1redup), Jaspreet Singh (SpawN), Sadab Khan (SK wow^), Piyush Kalwania (clouda), Nikhil Kathe (N1kace) and substitute Omkar Thube (omkar09).
Jain said, “Our motto to win the qualifiers was to trust the process, trust ourselves and trust our decisions. We worked extremely hard to defeat the country’s best CS:GO teams and become the champions. The WEC are very important for us and now we will prove ourselves in the regional qualifiers to qualify for the global finals as well.”
On the other hand, Team Top G comprising skipper Manav Kunte (mnz), Vishal Vernekar (HBK), Abhishek Yadav (Abhi-), Shahbaz Hussain (PinkMaN), Krish Gupta (Krish`) and substitute Jaikishan Malik (KaEL) prevailed in the finals of DOTA 2 by defeating Team Mob with a 2-0 score line in the finals. The squad’s notable players Vernekar and Yadav were also part of the historic DOTA 2 team that won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Esports Championships in 2022.
Kunte said, “We are beyond ecstatic to win the DOTA 2 India Qualifiers and it is an honour for us to represent India on the international stage. We have put in countless hours of practice, analysing every move, and strategising every play to reach this point, and it’s an incredible feeling to see our hard work pay off. The team has an unbreakable bond and we know that we can achieve anything if we keep this synergy together.”
Team Orgless5 and Top G will now be participating in the upcoming Asia regional qualifiers to qualify for the global finals of WEC 2023. The teams will first be competing in the South Asian qualifiers in online mode and upon qualifying, will play the regional finals offline. The dates of the regional qualifiers will be announced by the International Federation soon.