Hangzhou Asian Games postponed: Indian gaming and esports industry reacts after postponement of the event

Following detailed discussions with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC), the OCA Executive Board (EB) have decided to postpone the 19th Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from 10September to 25 September 2022. The new dates of the 19th Asian Games will be agreed between the OCA, the COC and the HAGOC and announced in the near future.

HAGOC has been very well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite global challenges. However, the above decision was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games.

The name and the emblem of the 19th Asian Games will remain unchanged, and the OCA believes that the Games will achieve complete success through the joint efforts of all parties.

Additionally, the OCA EB also studied the situation of the third Asian Youth Games, which was scheduled on 20December to 28 December this year in Shantou, China. After discussion with the COC and the Organising Committee, the OCA EB decided that as the Asian Youth Games had already been postponed once, the Asian Youth Games Shantou 2021 will be cancelled. The next Asian Youth Games will therefore be held in 2025 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 

The OCA thanks Shantou Organising Committee for its great work during the preparation phase. OCA strongly believe that this effort will be beneficial to many different aspects of the development of the city, especially in the field of sport as well as for the promotion of Olympic spirit in Asia.

The Olympic Council of Asia has earlier announced the titles for the debut of esports as an official medal sport at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September 2022. There will be eight medal events, plus two demonstration games, reflecting the popularity and growth of electronic sports in Asia. 

Recently, following eight days of high-voltage competition and nail-biting action in the ESFI’s National Esports Championship 2022 (NESC ’22), the winners have been selected to represent the country at the prestigious continental tournament.

  • FIFA22 – Charanjot Singh and Karman Singh Tikka
  • Street Fighter V – Mayank Prajapati and Ayan Biswas
  • Hearthstone – Shikhar Choudhary and Karthik Varma
  • League of Legends – Captain Akshaj Shenoy, Samarth Arvind Trivedi, Mihir Ranjan, Aditya Selvaraj, Aakash Shandilya and Sanindhya Malik
  • DOTA 2 – Captain Moin Ejaz, Krish, Abhishek, Ketan, Darshan and Shubham

After hearing the Asian Games postponement news,  Esports Federation of India director and Asian Esports Federation (AESF) vice president Lokesh Suji, said “The well-being of the athletes is the top priority and this news is expected as there was news floating about the covid resurgence in China. While the wait gets longer but the excitement remains the same. We should look at this as a blessing in disguise, giving our Indian esports contingent more time to sharpen their skills to further our chances of podium finishes. Can’t wait to watch Indian Esports athletes in action on the Asian stage”

As esports is going to make its debut at the Asian Games 2022, earlier in 2018 it was there as a demonstration title. Indian Esports contingent for the Asian Games 2022 came to surprise after hearing this news and put their thoughts:

FIFA22 athlete Charanjot Singh:

“All of us athletes are gutted by the news of the postponement of the Asian Games, but we’ll continue to give our everything in practice leading up to the tournament. The postponement gives us more time to practice and get better for the Asian games.”

FIFA22 athlete Karman Singh Tikka:

“As Asian Games is postponed, it’s hard to digest it because it somewhat kills your excitement as an athlete. But at the same time, it gives us more time to prepare for the Asian games. We can use this extended timeline to our advantage by grinding more, making strategies against other Asian FIFA athletes and reading their gameplays to be prepared in a better way.”

Street Fighter V athlete Mayank Prajapati:

“I can’t say I’m not disappointed by hearing the news, but it was kind of expected given the COVID-19 situation. I’m gonna take it positively because I’m going to get more time to practice. Ever since I started preparing myself for the qualifiers/tournament I’ve made progress better than I did in the last 4 years. So I’m gonna keep practising and hopefully, I’ll be able to finally compete in Asian Games. Whenever it’s going to happen, I’ll be prepared.”

Street Fighter V athlete Ayan Biswas:

“It feels very bad that the game has been postponed because of the covid outbreak. But nothing we can do as the situation is bad. Human lives are the most important thing and I have to keep patience and practice every day till the game happens. We will use this extended time to upskill our game, make better strategies against other Asian athletes and delve deep to understand their gameplay.”

 Indian Hearthstone contingent member Shikhar Choudhary,:

“It is pretty shocking news. All the players are already training and have scheduled everything around the Asian games 2022.  I am already dedicating all of my time to the game. Hope the situation in China will become normal soon, and it would not be postponed to a very distant date.”

 Indian Hearthstone contingent member Karthik Varma:

“Games are postponed for a genuine reason and I, as an athlete will focus on continuing my practice and my training plan. It really doesn’t affect anything from my side as I am only focusing on my part which is giving my best and keep grinding to bring a medal for India. “

Team India League of Legends captain Akshaj Shenoy, :

“Firstly I would like to wish China a speedy recovery and hope the situation doesn’t worsen for them. It deeply saddens me to know that the Asian Games has been postponed but on the bright side, we can use the extra months of practice and come back stronger and give them a mightier battle.”

 Team India DOTA 2 captain Moin Ejaz :

“We were very excited and looking forward to playing in this year’s Asian Games to represent India and the face the good teams from other counties but now since the Asian games got postponed we will have to wait till the next dates are fixed. On the brighter side, it will give us more time to practise and bring our A-game into the esports arena with better coordination, communication and strategy within our team.”

Here is what the gaming and esports industry thinks:

 Penta Esports CEO and founder Anurag Khurana

“While the athletes were looking forward to competing at the Asian Games 2022 in September, we must acknowledge that the postponement has been made keeping in mind the safety concerns for everyone involved, including the athletes. According to the statement, the event will still take place at a later date, and teams and players will get more time to practice and eventually play the event in a much safer environment. Good luck to all of them!”

Trinity Gaming India co-founder and CEO Abhishek Aggarwal,

The news of the postponement of Asian Games is a very unfortunate for all the athletes going to participate in the event. However, the health of an athlete, coaches, managers and other stakeholders is obviously keeps much more importance than anything else. Hence, if the authorities have decided to postpone it amid the COVID crisis in China, I feel it’s a good and constructive decision. There might be some players who are disappointed about it. However, the excitement in the teams and amongst the players is at its peak, specifically in the Esports contingent as it is a big opportunity for them to represent country. But health always comes first and I am sure the excitement level wont go down as they will get some time to brush up on their skills.

Luv Sharma – GodNixon

“It is known to all that there will be a feeling of despondency among the professional esports players drilling for the Asian Games 2022, keeping in mind that it is a huge opportunity for the Indian esports industry to represent the country. Unlike every sports player, Esports players have also been preparing themselves for the tournament for a prolonged time, grinding and learning everyday. After the announcement of the Asian Games 2022 postponement, every player and gaming enthusiasts are looking forward to the reason for the postponement and also hoping it will resume soon. I agree with the fact that few of the players would be demotivated with the announcement for the time being but if we look at the brighter side, now the players will get some extra time to groom themselves up. Lastly, I would hope that the players who have got the chance to represent our country in Esports will be motivated again and I wish them all the best.”

Tanya Palta, McQueenLive

We woke up to the news of the Asian Games 2022 postponement. It’s unfortunate that the games have been postponed because of covid. Human lives are the most important though. Gaming athletes need to be patient and practice every day till the games happen. They need to take it positively which means that gamers will get more time to prepare. They can use this extended timeline to their advantage by grinding more, making strategies against other teams and reading their gameplays to be prepared in a better way. They should look at this as a blessing in disguise, as it gives our Indian esports contingent more time to sharpen their skills further to mark our chances of podium finishes. Athletes should not be affected but instead focus on better preparation, give their best and practice further to aim to bring medal home.

Sakshi Sood
“I feel Asian Games is a great opportunity provided to the gamers to show the world that, Esports is an equivalent to any other sport as it requires equal amount of practice, dedication, skills and needs to apply mind while playing. I think if there’s a delay in the Asian Games we should take it positively and take this opportunity to nurture skills and practice more for the event. Also, educate and spread awareness in masses about esports and how India can score medals in this competition in the Asian Games.”
Anjali Roy, Unicorn IB
“Asian Games will give opportunity to the gamers to represent their country in a medal contention event. The postponement of the event is certainly not good from the perspective of the athletes as they were all gearing up for the event in coming months. However, with the additional time they probably would like to explore other opportunities as well along with their practice to stay in momentum. Before any competition some extra time will always be beneficial for the aspirants to practice more and nurture their skills and game plan.”