The 19th Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023. The event was originally scheduled for 2022 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. ESports will make its maiden occurrence as a medal sport at the event with a total of eight medal events scheduled.
The esports program at the Hangzhou Asian Games will include eight medal events and two demonstration events, featuring: Dota 2, FIFA Online 4, League of Legends, Street Fighter V, Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, and PUBG Mobile Asian Games Version. Seeing the above-mentioned events, India has already announced its squad for the events. Arena of Valor and PUBG Mobile Asian Games Version are notably banned in the country, while the title Dream Three Kingdoms 2 is not available.
India will be sending a 15-member esports contingent to the Hangzhou Asian Games, comprising four teams. The teams are:
FIFA Online 4 – Charanjot Singh and Karman Singh Tikka
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition – Mayank Prajapati and Ayan Biswas
League of Legends – Akshaj Shenoy (captain), Samarth Arvind Trivedi, Mihir Ranjan, Aditya Selvaraj, Aakash Shandilya, and Sanindhya Malik
DOTA 2 – Darshan (captain), Krish, Abhishek, Ketan, and Shubham
Earlier, the Esports Federation of India had selected Shikhar Choudhary and Karthik Varma to represent the country in Hearthstone, which was originally a part of the Asian Games but was removed from the Asian Games Esports programme in March, earlier this year.
The Indian esports teams were selected through online qualifiers and trials conducted by the Esports Federation of India (ESFI). The Indian teams will face tough competition from other Asian countries, especially China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, which are considered to be the powerhouses of ESports.
Lokesh Suji, Director, the Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), said after the release, "Esports taking centre stage at the Asian Games is the dawn of a new era for competitive gaming and we urge the entire country to witness it. Our talented athletes are fully prepared to triumph in this life-changing championship, turning their dreams into reality."