In a major win for the Esports community in India, the Indian government has officially recognised Esports as one of the sports.
Esports will now fall under the purview of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports while the broader gaming industry will be governed by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The change clearly establishes Esports as a sport from the generally perceived category of gaming.
Esports’ inclusion in the multi-sports category by the Indian government also means that the recognised Esports tournaments might attain the same status as other offline sporting events in the country, like national-level tournaments.
Congratulating the Indian Esports community, Mr. Kenneth Fok, President of the AESF said, “Today is a great day for Esports enthusiasts - fans and athletes alike. The AESF is thrilled to wish a heartiest congratulations to the Indian Esports family. This is no mean feat which redefines the sport and allows a broader range of athletes to see themselves represented on a global stage.”
“Under the exceptional leadership and support by the President of India, Hon’ble Smt. Droupadi Murmu ji and Prime Minister of India, Hon'ble Modi ji, I am sure this is just the beginning, and we would also like to convey our utmost excitement for the Indian Esports scene moving forward,” he added.
Reacting to the news, Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) said, "Great news for us to begin the New Year. We have been constantly working on establishing the difference between Esports and Gaming, and finally, our efforts have been fulfilled. We welcome this announcement by our government under the leadership of Hon'ble PM Modi ji, which will open new avenues to pour in more investment opportunities in this booming industry. From now onwards, we will have to build the proper infrastructure, training facilities and coaching for our young Esports athletes. Only a short time until we see Esports being placed in the same league as cricket, football, basketball, etc. and having similar fan power, scale and craze.”
Esports competed at the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration sport, where Indian HearthStone athlete, Tirth Mihta, bagged a bronze medal. Esports will debut as an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.