There has been a lot of debate about what constitutes a sport. People often generalize and just try use definitions like “well its 2 teams competing against each other on a field or court”, but then we get the sports on the fringes like chess or other mind games. What separates a sport from just a game? This line has become especially blurred when it comes to computer games. Soccer is a real sport, but FIFA games aren’t? Car racing is a real sport, but don’t mention F1 games or Need for Speed? Well that debate seems to have taken an upswing for the side of gamers, with the Olympic Council of Asia giving esports a slot in the 2022 Asian Games which is set to take place in China.
While this doesn’t officially make esports part of the Olympics, players will be eligible for medals from the Asian Games. According to a statement by the OCA, this is due to “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth”. The Council will be working together with Alisports to bring the event to the public in a well organised and successful manner. HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, president of the OCA, was very enthusiastic about the addition of esports and their partnership with Alisports:
The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports.
We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events. We are sure that the extensive organising capabilities of Alisports, and their experience in e-sports, will assist the OCA in developing all sports.
The committee has included esports in this years 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan which is set to take place in September, and then again next year in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. In both of these events though it will be showcased as a demonstration sport, meaning that participants will not be eligible for any medals. This will only happen when it in inducted as an official sport in 2022.