The 2022 Asian Games, which will take place in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25 this year, is going to be a historic occasion for E-sports. As many as 24 medals will be up for grabs in the gaming category, which could include events like FIFA 2022, PUBG Mobile, Arena of Valor etc. But the big question is - Will Team India send an entry for these events at the Games?
Well, some of the questions were answered recently by Mr. Anurag Thakur, India's Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, in the parliament. After being asked if the Government is aware about the ongoing development in E-Sports industry, the 47-year-old revealed that they have all the details and information about the same.
"E-sports is included in Asian Games 2022 as a Medal Sports discipline. Entries of players/teams from India in Asian Games are sent by the Indian Olympic Association to the Organizing Committee of the Games. As informed by Indian Olympic Association, 'Entry By Number' Form was received from the Organizing Committee of Asian Games 2022 and after necessary process, the Form has been submitted back to the Organizing Committee of Asian Games 2022," Mr. Thakur said.
He added, "Promotion and development (including training) of specific sports discipline is mainly the responsibility of the concerned National Sports Federation (NSF). This Ministry supplements the efforts of the NSFs by providing financial assistance to recognized NSFs for preparation and participation of Indian sportspersons/teams in international sporting events. At present, no Federation/Association has been recognized for E-sports by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports."
Notably, the finance minister had recently announced that the government will establish "Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) task force" as part of the 2022-23 Budget. If the recent developments are anything to go by, it looks very likely that the Government is actually taking steps for the growth and development of E-Sports sector in India.
However, there is still no clarity if things and processes will be able to come in place in time for this year's Asian Games and whether India will be able to send an entry for any of the 24 medal events or not.