First ever Welsh team heads to the Commonwealth Esports Championships
This weekend the first ever Welsh e-sports team are competing in the inaugural 2022 Commonwealth Games’ Esports Championships in Birmingham.
Esports is a form of competition using video games played competitively for spectators, providing people of all-abilities the opportunity to participate, developing new and existing skills along the way.
Esports Wales, the not-for-profit Welsh body for competitive and grassroots gaming, aims to improve awareness and the standard of esports within Wales by running tournaments, esports teams and events.
The contest at the Commonwealth Games will feature topflight esports athletes from across the nations of the Commonwealth, with Esports Wales fielding teams in six categories:
- Rocket League Open
- Rocket League Women
- Dota 2 Open
- Dota 2 Women
- Efootball Women.
Peachy Bell, from Llandeilo is part of the team and has been gaming since 2018.
Speaking to the BBC she said: “I never thought it would be like this. They were like you ‘never know one day it might at the Olympics’.
“I think it’s definitely a good thing. People judge you when you say ‘I want to play this professionally’ but if you have things like the Commonwealth behind you, then it becomes a more viable thing that people want to get into professionally.”
Professional players come from all backgrounds with many hours of gaming under their belts.
According to industry body UKIE, in 2019 42% of UK gamers were women and girls, with women only games nights helping to boost participation and confidence.
Creative Wales, set up in 2020 to support the creative industries in Wales, recently confirmed £25,000 in funding to Esports Wales to help with their next stage of growth.
The funding will support the establishment of a Welsh league and coaching and training for staff and teams, which will then lead to representation at tournaments in the UK and beyond.
In addition to the Commonwealth Championships in Birmingham, Esports Wales will be heading to the 2022 World Championships in Bali, Indonesia.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “Esports is an exciting and inclusive new development for sport and for Wales. I’m delighted we have been able to support the establishment of Wales’ first ever Esports team, which will further support the growth of the games industry in Wales.
“I very much look forward to cheering on the Welsh team in Birmingham. Pob lwc i chi gyd!”
Chief Operating Officer of Esports Wales Jack “Anders” Lawrence said: “The practice the teams put in showed through the qualification process with the mixed Rocket League and mixed Dota 2 teams advancing through the qualifiers without dropping a series.
“I’m thoroughly looking forward to watching all of our six brilliant teams compete at the Commonwealth Esports Championships. It will be a fantastic step for Welsh Esports and its community to be part of an event of this magnitude.”
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