Many Malaysians this week may be tuning in to the Commonwealth Games to catch events like badminton or diving.
However, this time around, there may be a whole new demographic tuning in for another kind of Commonwealth game—an esports event happening on August 6 and 7.
The inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships (CEC) will run alongside the Commonwealth Games, which occurs once every four years. The Championships will be held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.
But not to be confused, the Commonwealth Esports Championships actually have a separate branding to the Commonwealth Games.
It’s organised by Commonwealth Sport and Global Esports, while the Commonwealth Games is organised by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
The CEC will include three games—DOTA 2, eFootball series, and Rocket League. On top of that, it’ll also be featuring 13 Malaysian athletes, with two teams for DOTA 2 and one athlete for eFootball, according to The Star.
The eSports industry is known to be male-dominated, with women athletes and fans alike representing a much smaller category.
Even so, Malaysia has managed to produce an all-female team for DOTA 2 that made the cut for the CEC after defeating Singapore and Sri Lanka in the Southeast Asia/South Asia qualifiers.
Meet the team
Malaysia’s female DOTA 2 lineup consists of players Stephanie Lim Yuen Lii (Auroraa), Nadrah Saufi (Nada), Wong Wei Sian (HG), Bette Chia Hooi Ping (iStarx), and Tan Lyn Xhin (Shizuma).
These athletes will sound familiar to those into esports, as they were once a squad in 2017. Under the Grills Gaming banner, the team has won multiple championships and was previously featured by Vulcan Post.
While most of the team has been playing together since 2017, Nadrah is new to the squad. The Sarawakian shared with The Borneo Post that after being recommended by others, team captain Auroraa had reached out to her personally to join the team.
Tiffani Lim (Babyoling) will serve as the manager and substitute player. In a post made by Babyoling, the team has flown out to Birmingham on August 1.
A challenging industry
In a recent interview with MyGameOn, the team shared that they had initially expected to play against other female teams locally, but there weren’t enough players interested or able to commit to the whole schedule. After all, the team spends four to five hours training per day.
The team also shared that there are fewer female tournaments and players nowadays, so it’s difficult to get sponsorships.
On top of that, even when there were tournaments, the team claimed that they had essentially been scammed by organisers that ran away and did not distribute their prize money.
This is a sentiment they’ve had for years now. In a Facebook post in 2018, they shared that they hope the scene gets better over time, and that there are more competitions that encourage female participation esports. Four years later, they’ve been able to make it to the CEC.
“However, we’re still very happy to be able to represent Malaysia and participate in such a prestigious event,” they said in the interview.
The Grills Gaming team had been inactive for a while, but the CEC has brought them back together.
“It is an event that gives us the opportunity to represent the country,” they told MyGameOn. “We’re very happy to be able to play with friends and some of the best women [esports athletes] in Malaysia.”
The Borneo Post reported that the team is aiming for a podium finish and will try to get gold if possible.
If the qualifiers go well, the athletes will take the stage on August 6, Day 1 of the CEC. The team may be playing in Session 2, either in the Third Place Match at 3PM (10PM in Malaysia time) or the Grand Final at 6PM (1AM Sunday in Malaysia time).
As of August 5, 2022, the team has made it into the Grand Final and will play against England.
According to tweets by Global Esports Federation, the CEC will be streamed on its Twitch and YouTube pages. We hope to be able to catch the Malaysian team in action and cheer them on.
Editor’s update 05/08/22: We’ve edited the article to accurately reflect which rounds the Malaysian team might and will play in.
- Learn more about the Commonwealth Esports Championships here.
- Read other articles we’ve written about gaming here.
Featured Image Credit: Grills Gaming