The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) have announced the introduction of ‘Road to Asian Games,’ the official qualifier program for esports at Asian Games, starting with the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. This news comes with the reconfirmation that the AESF takes charge of all the matters of technical conduct for esports at Asian Games as the sole Technical Delegate. The AESF will also be responsible for selecting the esports event titles to be contested for the qualifiers and finals at Asian Games and make the final confirmation on the selected titles in collaboration with the OCA.
As the exclusive organizer of ‘Road to Asian Games,’ the official qualifier program and esports competition at Asian Games, the AESF will oversee the qualifying and final tournament structure for all esports events at Asian Games including the responsibility to identify the finalists for their respective esports event titles through regional qualifying competitions as part of the campaign. The campaign will begin in Hangzhou 2022, and with AESF to continue the organization of Esports through to Nagoya 2026, Doha 2030 and beyond.
With esports making its debut as an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games, this campaign will lay the foundation in bringing the Olympic Values and Movement to esports to Asia as well as the world. In addition, as part of the program, the AESF plans to include virtual and simulating event titles to the ‘Road to Asian Games’ and finals competition as a demonstration event, which will further encourage and expand the esports scope from traditional titles which are recognised as console, computer or mobile esports game events.
More than just an esports event, the ‘Road to Asian Games’ and finals at the 19th Asian Games shall exhibit the growth of esports from competitive gaming event to an official sport event. Moreover, the ‘Road to Asian Games’ will play the important role to introduce a direct pathway that allows publishers to be part of Asian Games. This initiative will be the first of its kind to bring fair and equal opportunities to all publishers and advance esports developments not just for Asia, but worldwide.
Furthermore, the 'Road to Asian Games’ campaign will also include a focus on grassroots development, inclusion programs, career pathways, health and wellbeing support, as well as athlete’s rights and protection. As part of the Asian Games community outreach, the AESF will deliver and execute the ‘AESF Experience Program’ with full support from the OCA where AESF will aim to connect esports with athletes, fans, and local communities. This initiative will include a plan of an esports zone at the Asian Games Athletes Village, OCA House, and Fan Zones.
To officialise the partnership for the ‘Road to Asian Games’ campaign and the confirmation on the roles and responsibilities of AESF, an official Signing Ceremony was held with the OCA Director-General Dr. Husain AHZ Al-Musallam, OCA Director of Sports Mr. Haider A H E Farman, AESF President Mr. Kenneth Fok, and AESF Director-General Mr. Sebastian Lau in attendance.
Commenting on the partnership, Director General of OCA Dr. Husain AHZ Al-Musallam declared “It is a great pleasure to officially announce our partnership between OCA and AESF for the new esports program for our Asian Games and OCA will provide full support for successful esports events at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. We wish the best to our partner AESF on the journey ahead.”
Echoing Dr Husain’s sentiments, AESF President Kenneth Fok added “I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the continuous support and trust from the OCA. I believe that the Asian Games presents the best stage for us to share Olympic Values with the esports community and we aim to make our esports communities develop further through this opportunity. Also, we look forward to a successful collaboration with OCA as well as LOC.”
This collaboration not only marks another milestone in AESF’s continuous effort to drive esports forward, but also as testament to our constantly growing reach and network. The OCA has entrusted the AESF again with a major undertaking which would shape the world of esports for many years to come. The AESF welcomes this challenge and looks forward to delivering a momentous and unforgettable experience for everyone involved.